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Evacuations in response to "credible intelligence" received
July 9, 2005 3:07 PM   Subscribe

Police evacuate Birmingham centre
West Midlands police have evacuated the second largest city in England tonight as a precautionary measure. Sky News are reporting that a series of controlled explosions (I heard on Sky News TV that one of these was on a bus, but this may be innacurate) have been carried out in the Broad Street area. I hope that any and all UK MeFi-ites in Birmingham are keeping sane through out all this.
posted by tomcosgrave (61 comments total)

 
It's very much worth noting that controlled explosions can be done on empty boxes. I don't know what the scare is, and there's obviously the element of a high Muslim population in Birmingham, but I think these sorts of events are to be expected in the coming days.

On Thursday, in fact, two controlled explosions were carried out on Princes Street in Edinburgh. One, in a box found outside the Principles shop, the other on package found on a city bus.

The thing that makes this different, I suppose, is that the police apparently "received intelligence" on it, pointing to a greater possibility of actual threat.
posted by bonaldi at 3:17 PM on July 9, 2005


Nervous twitch. Nothing to see here.

With no intelligence to point fingers at any party in the london bombings, and with no prior warning received, I can't see how they can treat any new intelligence here as "authenticated" or "reliable". However, public and governmental mood right now is such that any anonymous warnings must be observed with gravity.

It's also worth saying that the police haven't evacuated Birmingham per-se, they have evacuated downtown.

Sunday morning will be an uneasy relief for the West Midlands police, I think. No sleep 'til then, however.
posted by NinjaPirate at 3:38 PM on July 9, 2005


bonaldi >>> "and there's obviously the element of a high Muslim population in Birmingham"

And that means what, precisely? That any terrorist acts are automatically carried out by Muslims? Forgotten the IRA, have you? Or Basque separatists, or fundamentalis loonies attacking abortion clinics and doctors in the USA, or French commandos blowing up a Greenpeace boat?

Yay. Racism.



I hope these are false alarms, and merely police being over-cautious.

NinjaPirate >>> "Nervous twitch. Nothing to see here.

"With no intelligence to point fingers at any party in the london bombings, and with no prior warning received, I can't see how they can treat any new intelligence here as 'authenticated' or 'reliable'"


Uhm, maybe because the police and MI5 (it is MI5, right?) have access to rather more information than you or I do?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:15 PM on July 9, 2005


"The world is safer today because, in Afghanistan, our broad coalition destroyed the training camps of terrorists and removed the brutal regime that sponsored terror. The world is safer today because we continue to hunt down al Qaeda and its terrorist allies, and have captured or killed nearly two-thirds of al Qaeda's known leaders and key facilitators. The world is safer today because, in Iraq, our coalition ended a regime that cultivated ties to terror while it built weapons of mass destruction."

- George W. Bush, September 27, 2003
posted by wakko at 4:31 PM on July 9, 2005


Panic on the streets of London
Panic on the streets of Birmingham
I wonder to myself
Could life ever be sane again?
posted by fatbobsmith at 4:35 PM on July 9, 2005


Yay. Racism.

Please. Speculating Muslims were responsible is not only reasonable but probable.

Eliminating any other possibilities would be racist.
posted by vaportrail at 4:40 PM on July 9, 2005


"I don't believe that the incident that we are dealing with this evening is connected with the events of 7 July in London," he said.

"I want to make that pretty clear."


I'm sure it's nothing. In the days and weeks after 11th sept half the buildings in midtown New york seemed to be receiving bomb threats. We had to leave our bldg several times. Every idiot within a 50 mile radius seems to feel the need to create trouble after something like this.
posted by jamesonandwater at 4:46 PM on July 9, 2005


Let me get this straight: eliminating the Swiss would be racist, but pointing the finger at Muslims until we know better is a-ok?

I think my brain is broken.
posted by wakko at 4:50 PM on July 9, 2005


All I know is that it was a real pain to get a cab in Mosely tonight. Having only been here for 13 days I have no standard for comparison so that might be normal but the dispatcher was using it as an excuse.
posted by srboisvert at 4:57 PM on July 9, 2005


dirtynumbangelboy, please never call me a racist. Unable to get my point across, perhaps.

What I meant was that the high Muslim population will make it more likely that such an area will be more security aware than, say, Shetland would. Because, as vaportrail points out, the probability of fanatical terrorists operating under the banner of radical Islam coming from predominately better is somewhat higher.

Not total, but since the IRA have not been active in the mainland for some years, Basque separatists have never to my knowledge struck outside of Spain, the American Christian Right have been suspects in a total of, let me count, oooh, no terrorist atrocities on the British mainland beyond their music and French Greenpeace activists settle for posters and the like ... I think we can discount them, you knee jerking twat.

On preview: no, wakko: eliminating *everybody bar Muslims* would be racists. Eliminating the French is reasonable, unless you want to tie this to the recent re-enactment of Trafalgar.
posted by bonaldi at 4:57 PM on July 9, 2005


racist, not racists.
posted by bonaldi at 4:58 PM on July 9, 2005


What if these bombings were carried out by, you know, normal, everyday looking, Londoners, sympathetic to the cause?
posted by Balisong at 4:59 PM on July 9, 2005


rephrase:

Assuming any other groups, other than Muslims, are not responsible ..would be racist. Making accusations- Racist.

You have to start an investigation somewhere. Do we start with the Swedish ski team or Al Queda?

I'm not pointing a finger at anyone, but I'll go ahead and guess there is a good chance this is Muslim-related.

//brain hungover
posted by vaportrail at 5:00 PM on July 9, 2005


Balisong: You're more right than you think. The pictures released of the suspect in the Madrid and London bombings are of a dishevelled white chap with ginger hair.

oops again: I meant "coming from predominately Muslim areas is rather higher" earlier.
posted by bonaldi at 5:03 PM on July 9, 2005


Meanwhile, shit is already starting: Police are investigating an arson attack on a mosque in Leeds.
posted by amberglow at 5:07 PM on July 9, 2005


And Muslims come in all different colors, you know.

If you mean Middle-Eastern or brown, you might as well say so.
posted by amberglow at 5:08 PM on July 9, 2005


The pictures released of the suspect in the Madrid and London bombings are of a dishevelled white chap with ginger hair.

Oh no! Yet another reason for Britons to hate Gingers. I feel so sorry for them :(
posted by redteam at 5:11 PM on July 9, 2005


bonaldi writes "dirtynumbangelboy, please never call me a racist. Unable to get my point across, perhaps. "

Then kindly think before you post. I'll be happy to not call you a racist, if you don't make racist statements.

"What I meant was that the high Muslim population will make it more likely that such an area will be more security aware than, say, Shetland would. Because, as vaportrail points out, the probability of fanatical terrorists operating under the banner of radical Islam coming from predominately better is somewhat higher.

Oh, please.

"Not total, but since the IRA have not been active in the mainland for some years, Basque separatists have never to my knowledge struck outside of Spain, the American Christian Right have been suspects in a total of, let me count, oooh, no terrorist atrocities on the British mainland beyond their music and French Greenpeace activists settle for posters and the like ...

I was pointing out that not all terrorists are radical Islamists. Apparently you missed that.

I think we can discount them, you knee jerking twat

I think you mean that I can discount you, what with the ad hominem attack, and such.





"On preview: no, wakko: eliminating *everybody bar Muslims* would be racists. Eliminating the French is reasonable, unless you want to tie this to the recent re-enactment of Trafalgar."

posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 5:31 PM on July 9, 2005


bloody hell, got confused, hit post too soon.

bonaldi >>> "dirtynumbangelboy, please never call me a racist. Unable to get my point across, perhaps. "

Then kindly think before you post. I'll be happy to not call you a racist, if you don't make racist statements.

"What I meant was that the high Muslim population will make it more likely that such an area will be more security aware than, say, Shetland would. Because, as vaportrail points out, the probability of fanatical terrorists operating under the banner of radical Islam coming from predominately better is somewhat higher.

Oh, please.

"Not total, but since the IRA have not been active in the mainland for some years, Basque separatists have never to my knowledge struck outside of Spain, the American Christian Right have been suspects in a total of, let me count, oooh, no terrorist atrocities on the British mainland beyond their music and French Greenpeace activists settle for posters and the like ...

I was pointing out that not all terrorists are radical Islamists. Apparently you missed that. Also, the Greenpeace activists were the ones in charge of the Rainbow Warrior, which was blown up in the Auckland (I think; Wellington?) harbour by French commandos. Not French Greenpeace activists. Try reading next time.

I think we can discount them, you knee jerking twat

I think you mean that I can discount you, what with the ad hominem attack, and such.





"On preview: no, wakko: eliminating *everybody bar Muslims* would be racists. Eliminating the French is reasonable, unless you want to tie this to the recent re-enactment of Trafalgar."
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 5:33 PM on July 9, 2005


EEk I'm washing in it!
posted by Balisong at 5:36 PM on July 9, 2005


dirtyboy, please concentrate: attempting a terrorist attack on target "England#2" just a couple of days after a high profile attack on "England#1" is doomed to failure. The security services (yes, including MI5) and the police force will all be on full alert, leaning heavily into paranoia (see the closing of railway stations in Brighton, Swindon and the most un-attack-worthy Poole on the 7th). This anxiety as well as the very real need to be seen to be doing something will lead to a number of controlled explosions around the British Isles this week.

I predict that none of these interventions will have actually been necessary, but I'm glad that they will have made sure. It's not a wild and crazy prediction, but spelling out the plot seems appropriate for the audience.
posted by NinjaPirate at 5:45 PM on July 9, 2005


I've read reports that 20,000-30,000 people are being currently evacuated from Birmingham's center. This does not seem like the normal reaction to a few suspicious packages or phoned-in bomb threats. NYC had tons of bomb threats in the months right after 9/11, but never mass evacuations like this, where even the local radio stations' crews got evac'd, as they have in Birmingham. (I read a comment online that the last two songs they played before they switched over to tape and left were "Dancing In the Streets" followed by "When the Going Get Tough (The Tough Get Going)". Heh.) And I don't think this was the Brits' usual response even during the IRA days.

So either the Brits are really really jumpy right now or else there's more going on here than just one called-in threat or a suspicious abandoned package.
posted by Asparagirl at 5:48 PM on July 9, 2005


And I said otherwise when, precisely, NinjaPirate?

In fact, I said: "I hope these are false alarms, and merely police being over-cautious."

What I was responding to that you'd said was your statement that you couldn't see how they could consider any information accurate or reliable. I pointed out--and please, concentrate--that the police, MI5, and related agencies have access to rather more information than you or I, and thus would be in a position to decide whether or not, on balance of the evidence, the information was accurate or reliable. This is, of course, presuming that you don't work in the relevant departments of any such agencies. If you do, I shall gladly defer to your judgement on the matter.


On preview:

That is somewhat disturbing news, Asparagirl.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 5:52 PM on July 9, 2005


All this talk of racism - since when was "muslim" a race? It's a religion, which has members from every race.
posted by benzo8 at 5:54 PM on July 9, 2005


From the BBC article:...four controlled explosions had been carried out on a bus......Officers now believe that the item destroyed on the bus near the Square Peg pub had not posed a threat...

Confusing report so far as I suppose will happen in a situation like this.
Four explosions, one bus, one item, not a threat (after all?)
posted by jaronson at 5:54 PM on July 9, 2005


Panic on the streets of London
Panic on the streets of Birmingham
I wonder to myself
Could life ever be sane again?


Dude, they've been through WWI and WWII. Just keep breathing.
posted by c13 at 5:56 PM on July 9, 2005


Not a Smiths fan then, c13?
posted by benzo8 at 6:00 PM on July 9, 2005


20,000 flee as city threatened - from news.com.au

Note that the original area evacuated was the central pubs/bars/restaurants district, but that they've since moved on to evacuate the Jewelry dsitrict and, most recently, parts of Chinatown.
posted by Asparagirl at 6:02 PM on July 9, 2005


Eliminating the French is reasonable, unless you want to tie this to the recent re-enactment of Trafalgar.

[tasteless]Perhaps it's the Danes, wanting their colonies in England and Ireland back.[/tasteless]

The biggest problem with racial profiling is that even with a back of the napkin Bayesian analysis will tell you it's a waste of resources. Lets put the odds at 1 terrorist for every 10,000 members of an ethnic group, racial profiling will still send you on 100 false leads with only a marginal improvement on your ability to catch and find a real terrorist.

Meanwhile, what you are doing is creating an entire community of people who are unwilling to talk to the police. So yes, to answer the question, you start with Al Queda, you don't dive into random mosques hoping that you will get lucky and find a Al Queda cell.

But yes, some of the news reports suggested increased attacks because the bombers have blown their cover, and have nothing to loose by laying low.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:06 PM on July 9, 2005


Asparagirl, I'm in London and it's true that the people's response is very, very impressive, but on the other hand if I were Blair I'd be VERY jumpy. 72 hrs ago he was the guy who had just kicked the frogs' surrender asses by stealing the Olympics from under their Gallic noses AND had also managed to extort some sort of "engine exhaust is not as delicate-smelling as my momma's clean sheets" statement from the White House oilman. he was like a pale, Brit, SuperFly TNT

and then, they bomb his city and he's cut down to size again.

look:
Police said the evacuation was a "proportionate response" to the intelligence received
maybe it's only this weekend, but I'm quite sure that right now it only takes three drunk fucks to place a crank phone call to have the cops evacuate 20,000 people. better safe, etc.

having said that, maybe they had rigged the whole Birmingham city centre with ammonium nitrate. but the murderous scumbags only placed 7 pounds of explosives on trains and the bus in London and they kept the good stuff for Birmingham, of all places? why? it doesn't make sense
posted by matteo at 6:14 PM on July 9, 2005


Gawd... what a thread.

This isn't that hard. Yes, the evil French, the Basque separatists or the IRA could be setting off bombs. Hell, for that matter, I could be setting off bombs. Is it likely?

Considering the last few years is it really so hard to understand that the natural reaction would be to think that there was a Muslim fundamentalist connection? Not so long ago it would have been easy to assume the IRA was responsible for a bombing in London and you probably would have been right. When the offices of an abortion provider are bombed, no one looks at the anarchists or Earth First. When a synagogue is firebombed, nobody investigates Colombian socialists. Use your brain and stop with the politically correct nonsense.

To play the odds when investigating or trying to prevent a disaster no more means that you believe all Muslims are terrorists than it means you think all people of Irish descent, Basque descent or Green Party members are terrorists. It's an educated guess based on the past and common sense.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
posted by cedar at 6:15 PM on July 9, 2005


Then kindly think before you post. I'll be happy to not call you a racist, if you don't make racist statements.

What I said wasn't racist, Mr stick-in-the-eye-ad-hominem, even allowing for you tagging Islam as a race.

I said that these sorts of events -- ie, security scares -- were to be expected in the coming days, and a high Muslim population would make it more likely that security forces would take a threat from that area even more seriously in the direct wake of an attack whose prime suspects are fundamentalist Islamics.

Yes, there are many other terrorist attacks carried out, as you attempted to point out. But I think you might be taking it a bit far to expect the security forces to be especially monitoring Belfast or Scottish Separatists for increased levels of chatter two days after an apparently Islamic attack. Is that racist or common sense?

Oh, please.
This is your argument? The sort of argument you think deserves better than ad hominems, PC kid?

on preview, what cedar said.
posted by bonaldi at 6:23 PM on July 9, 2005


they kept the good stuff for Birmingham, of all places? why?

Yeah, it doesn't exactly spring to the front of one's mind as "juicy target" the way some other cities do...er, no offense to Birmingham and its residents.
posted by Asparagirl at 6:24 PM on July 9, 2005


Not a Smiths fan then, c13?

I guess not...

posted by c13 at 6:30 PM on July 9, 2005


If it pleases you to simply dismiss me as being PC, bonaldi, then you go ahead and do that. Except, of course, I'm not PC in the slightest.

It's okay. You'll get it eventually.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:33 PM on July 9, 2005


No, no I won't, unless you actually, you know, say something substantive or actually clarify yourself. Adding "oh please" and "i'm not what you say I am" is not doing those things.

I'll be happy to not dismiss you as a knee-jerking PCer when you stop saying knee-jerk PC things.
posted by bonaldi at 7:44 PM on July 9, 2005


That's the thing that's worrying me about this. You do not risk evacuating 20K people unless you have some very good intel saying that something *very* nasty is going to happen.

Hard intel on an upcoming tube attack says you empty the trains -- not the city.

I keep thinking "what would make me evacuate a large hunk of city -- knowing the costs, what will happen if I'm wrong, how many people might be hurt if there's a panic, etc."

I end up with scenarios like this. Bad guy faxes me a convincing drawing of the bomb he's claimed to have place. The bomb claims to be very effective -- chemical, dirty-nuke, whatnot. Then I do a spot check, and it comes up positive -- yes, that's a sarin precursor, holy crap, that's a U-238 trace, that sort of thing.

That's what tells me I need to move twenty-thousand people now. Note, it's not a full-blown nuclear threat -- if they though that was in play, they'd move far more people. We're talking something that effects a few dozen blocks, not a whole city.

It's not just bombs -- the answer in London was correct "Stay home, or at your office." Evacuating people in the fact of a transit threat puts them in range of the threat.

So, it's a placed weapon threat, and it was convincing enough to the UK that they're willing to shove 20,000 people down the road.

That's worrisome. Who can make that sort of plausible threat? There's cautious, but this is the UK -- they've had mortars lobbed at 10 Downing, they're not going to empty Downtown on the basis of a single phone call.
posted by eriko at 7:45 PM on July 9, 2005


More: From the end of the current BBC story linked in the FPP.
West Midlands Police announced they had received intelligence of a possible threat to the area at about 2015 BST.

Initially people were told to be on their guard, and that bars and restaurants were being searched. Motorists were also told not to come into the city centre.

However, about half an hour later, police said the city was to be evacuated.
It fits. They got a threat, they check it out -- esp. after this week (never mind the past.) They tell people to avoid a couple of places, search -- then, suddenly, it turns into a mass evacuation.

This bothers me. Incompetent people being scared doesn't bother me, but these aren't incompetent people. What scared them?
posted by eriko at 8:00 PM on July 9, 2005


The security services (yes, including MI5) and the police force will all be on full alert, leaning heavily into paranoia (see the closing of railway stations in Brighton, Swindon and the most un-attack-worthy Poole on the 7th). This anxiety as well as the very real need to be seen to be doing something will lead to a number of controlled explosions around the British Isles this week.

Seems reasonable to me. I hope the British society is a bit tighter knit than we have proven to be so that any security related paranoia doesn't create as much damage as it had over here. Although, the 2 or 3 year market shock after WTC isn't likely to be repeated for them in this case, and I feel quite strongly that much of the fallout we've gone through hasn't been entirely due to security, per se, as much as it's at least partially also been due to all the adjustments the powers that be (large pools of money included) have had to make.
posted by nervousfritz at 8:05 PM on July 9, 2005


Let's just hope Britian doesn't decide to bomb Mexico, or Germany, or someone else most probably not directly responsible, in retaliation.

They're probably a lot saner than that.
posted by Balisong at 8:11 PM on July 9, 2005


I'm with eriko--it's really unheard of to evacuate that many people from somewhere--there has to be some really good reason--or--someone wants all of you really scared/obedient for some reason (probably not a good one).
posted by amberglow at 8:14 PM on July 9, 2005


They're probably a lot saner than that.

Ahem. Iraq? Putting the Black Watch under US command?

Sane?
posted by eriko at 8:21 PM on July 9, 2005


True, amberglow, although it's possible the threat was relatively normal but highly movable: bombs on buses or cars. You're jumpy two days after London, and you don't know which buses or cars, so first you empty the general area of downtown -- that's 20,000 people from bars, hotels and clubs easy -- then you close the town to traffic.
posted by bonaldi at 8:26 PM on July 9, 2005


Ahem. Iraq? Putting the Black Watch under US command?

Sane?
posted by eriko at 8:21 PM PST on July 9 [!]


I'm still willing to believe they just went along with their (scary) bigger brother's antics for a bit. But as to whether they will have a will of their own is to be seen.
posted by Balisong at 8:29 PM on July 9, 2005


The beeb has a bunch of first-person accounts up now.

Birmingham folk are stoic and the camaraderie between all of us was a mix of dry humour and 'business as usual'. We lost a good concert, though.
posted by jamesonandwater at 8:42 PM on July 9, 2005


Has this even been mentioned in the US media at all?
posted by Caviar at 9:10 PM on July 9, 2005


True, amberglow, although it's possible the threat was relatively normal but highly movable: bombs on buses or cars.

I think bonaldi's right. After 9/11, the next overt threat was the anthrax mailing (and what's up with that case, anyway?) -- so what's to be done? Evacuate all post offices? Everyplace with a delivery address?

If there's a threat to transit, on the other hand -- shut that fucker down. That's what I'd do, if only for tort-prophylaxis.
posted by vetiver at 9:13 PM on July 9, 2005


Yes, Caviar, it has. The cable newsers are waiting for hurricane Dennis to take out Alabama, so that's mostly what they are talking about. MeFi has better news, lol.
posted by Dizzy Bint at 9:50 PM on July 9, 2005


Has this even been mentioned in the US media at all?

Just mentioned on CNN Headline News (US), but only the Baltimore Sun is reporting it online (according to a Google News search.)
posted by jaronson at 9:53 PM on July 9, 2005


Looks like it was a false alert.
posted by clevershark at 9:57 PM on July 9, 2005


Not so long ago it would have been easy to assume the IRA was responsible for a bombing in London and you probably would have been right.

Wasn't the IRA's standard procedure to announce intent ahead of time though?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:02 PM on July 9, 2005


Has this even been mentioned in the US media at all?

I hate to sound all conspiracy-ish, but it's a further ominous sign that 20,000+ people have been evacuated from a Western city and neither CNN nor the New York Times have a damn thing about it on their online front pages right now. It makes one think that higher-ups are telling them not to say anything for the moment to prevent panic.

Supposedly, FOXNews had a person in Birmingham doing live coverage very early on as this story broke, but he hasn't been seen in quite a while. Again, it makes one think that the mainstream media is cooperating with the authorities to keep what must be a very serious situation calm. (I'm not necessarily faulting them for it, mind you, just noting it.)

Luckily, there are a few Flickr photos up already...

on preview: all over, nothing to worry about? Except for this quote from the Beeb article: "We believe it is a proportionate response to the information." As eriko said, if they evacuated 20,000+ people, this information must have been very scary to justify that proportion. Thank God it looks like it was a false alarm.
posted by Asparagirl at 10:04 PM on July 9, 2005


Covering the news in a way that avoids panic at the government's request. What an interesting concept.
Not to throw out the hardball questions that need to be answered untill the heat is off... Isn't that asking for the response of "That's old news now, it's time to move forward!"
I've heard too much of that lately to let any news media worth their salt to bow (or be coerced) by ??? Do news agencies have a govt. cencorer at each nes office, adding suggestions to how something should be phrased? Do news organizations call Scott McClellen to see if it's a news story worthy of reporting? Is there a call from him?
Is it just individual editors being too causious to report anything early? (Dan Rather)
posted by Balisong at 10:16 PM on July 9, 2005


-nes
posted by Balisong at 10:18 PM on July 9, 2005


They might as well be, nowadays, Bali. Newspapers are now holding stories they otherwise would have reported, even. (bec. of the Plame thing)

CNN Int'l covered it pretty well tho.
posted by amberglow at 12:00 AM on July 10, 2005


On Friday I was caught in a separate evacuation (in London) - again a false alert.

Two thoughts:

1) People should STOP LEAVING THEIR BACKPACKS ON THE BUS! This must be the number one cause of false alerts - and imagine how annoying it is to find that your laptop or whatever has been blown up by police in a "controlled explosion".

2) For the next week or two, Britain will (in my opinion) be one of the safest places to live, at least from a terrorist standpoint. I'm not saying that people are jumpy... more observant, for the first time in ages. There had certainly been a lot of complacency in the past couple of years... and clearly that is one now.
posted by skylar at 1:14 AM on July 10, 2005


I'm sure there is a film about an attack on the city that is used as a cover to stage a bank raid. Those pictures reminded me of it.

Anyway, I was on the train last week and a man rushed up to the guard and said: "I left my laptop on the train." Now if people are going to forget a thousand pounds of electrical equipment you can be guaranteed that there are going to be more scares based on the ineptitude of the British public.
posted by Navek Rednam at 3:10 AM on July 10, 2005


In consideration of eriko's analysis...I agree...moving people, e.g., evacuation, is unusual.

It's always a risky undertaking, especially in a metro area, and in and of itself presents with numerous dangers.

Sit tight is SOP in most threat scenarios.

Wonder what intellegence was floated past MI5 and/or UK LE and what corroboration or indicators were found to tip the status from lock-down to evacuation?

Curious....
posted by Dunvegan at 3:33 AM on July 10, 2005


From this article:

Speaking from the force's headquarters, Chief Constable Paul Scott-Lee said the packages that prompted the evacuation were neither bombs nor hoax explosive devices, but stressed information received by officers had been significant enough to warrant the emergency procedure last night.

In the wake of Thursday's attacks on London, Mr Scott-Lee said, the emergency services had to respond after police received calls from members of the public concerned about discarded items.

"We have found no bombs, but we have responded to what members of the public saw and thought was suspicious and which they quite responsibly drew to our attention," he said.

Four bombs in London, four controlled explosions in Birmingham, four 'packages' that were inert.
posted by gsb at 3:52 AM on July 10, 2005


Panic on the streets of London
Panic on the streets of Birmingham
I wonder to myself
Could life ever be sane again?


people of Carlisle, Dublin, Dundee, Humberside, start panicking now, just in case
posted by funambulist at 6:35 AM on July 10, 2005


I live in Brum, but was away this weekend. Friends were caught up in the evacuation. They live in the city centre and couldn't go home overnight.

It's not the first time in the last few years the city centre has been evacuated, 10,000 people were evacuated in 2001 when the Real IRA planted a car bomb near New Street. It didn't explode due to a faulty detonator. BBC Sumary of that event. Given that, I'd say evacuation is pretty standard procedure in the case of reasonable iIntelligence.

Why target Birmingham? It's a transport nexus. Most rail links north-south go through New Street Station. It's also technically the 2nd city.
posted by MattM at 3:35 AM on July 11, 2005


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