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July 11, 2005 5:52 PM   Subscribe

“The nature of the explosives appears to be military, which is very worrying,” said Superintendent Christophe Chaboud, the chief of the French anti-terrorist police, who was in London to help Scotland Just because this may have been the work of one or two or three men does not mean there is no infrastructure. A message to the terrorists. Why have these Mullahs been allowed to operate in London with impunity?
posted by Ugandan Discussions (53 comments total)

 
Several dozen comments later, the argument died down.
posted by ori at 6:03 PM on July 11, 2005


question: Why did you feel the need of posting the "message to the terrorists" again?

on preview: heh
posted by cyphill at 6:34 PM on July 11, 2005


Why have the mullahs been allowed to operate in the UK? I realise this may be an alien concept, but there are these things called "personal liberty", "freedom of speech" and "freedom of expression"...
posted by Hogshead at 6:41 PM on July 11, 2005


Obviously, we're talking about BushCo's Freedom Lite(tm).

Can this thread be saved? Two or three men (plus their case officers, if any) are an infrastructure, you berk!

I'm so glad to get such valuable opinions from Rupert Moloch's Sunday Whines. (or is that Sunday Whinges?)
posted by warbaby at 6:50 PM on July 11, 2005


Why *shouldn't* Arab American and British Arab leaders have the right to say that they believe their country has declared war on their religion, and that opposition is justified, so long as they aren't funding, planning, or involved in active hostilities themselves?

There are plenty of religious leaders in the U.S. that preach that abortionists, homosexuals, etc. should be killed, but how many of them are arrested for it?

When they take all the mullahs and throw them into prison, perhaps our governments will be so kind as to also lock up those Christian leaders who also preach violent religious extremism.

If we *must* have our civil rights trampled upon, the least our governments could do is to kill two birds with one stone... ;-)
posted by insomnia_lj at 7:09 PM on July 11, 2005


No one has claimed responsibility.

No one has made demands.

Hey, just like 9/11.

Hmmmm...
posted by telstar at 7:09 PM on July 11, 2005


In other news, cellphones have now joined nailclippers in the list of things Americans can't be trusted with.
posted by warbaby at 7:26 PM on July 11, 2005


And, uh ... military explosives? Just sayin' is all ...
posted by kenlayne at 7:48 PM on July 11, 2005


I realise this may be an alien concept, but there are these things called "personal liberty", "freedom of speech" and "freedom of expression"...

Actually it's not an alien concept to me. Personal liberty, freedom of speech and freedom of expression are all qualified liberties. They are circumscribed by law. One of the things that the law disallows is the incitement to murder other citizens.
From the article, "In talks monitored by The Times in January, Mr Bakri Mohammed declared a shift in the view of Britain held by radical Islamists. He said: “The whole of Britain has become Dar ul-Harb ([and of war]. That Dar ul-Harb has not started yet, but still really they start it.....He said: “Al-Qaeda and all its branches of the world, that is the victorious group and they have the emir. You are obliged to join.”

In other words he declared war. There is no liberty to do that on your fellow citizens.






Obviously, we're talking about BushCo's Freedom Lite(tm).

Can this thread be saved? Two or three men (plus their case officers, if any) are an infrastructure, you berk!



Is everyone to be labelled a neo-con? How tiresome and ad hominem can you get!


The infrastructure, my friend, lies in the ability to get hold of military explosive. That requires links to states or at least to military people. In short it requires international connections. Duh! Oh and of course there is a form of infrastructure in the ideological message but that isn't what I had in mind.
posted by Ugandan Discussions at 7:51 PM on July 11, 2005


Exactly what civil rights have been taken away? I don't really remember the "Every citizen shall be entitled to a cell phone..." portion of the Bill of Rights.
posted by TetrisKid at 7:51 PM on July 11, 2005


Let's see here. The French is connected to the Scottish is connected to the London is connected to the Mullah is connected to the.....oh really, what the hell?
posted by snsranch at 7:52 PM on July 11, 2005


Scotland Yard that should have been. Sorry.
posted by Ugandan Discussions at 7:57 PM on July 11, 2005


One of the things that the law disallows is the incitement to murder other citizens.

I think that's exactly what insomnia_lj was talking about. Numerous religious leaders within the us have directly encouraged violence against groups they dislike, often homosexuals, abortionists, etc. If that isn't incitement to murder, and thus illegal, why is the mullah's statements? Conversely, if the mullah's speech is incitement, why isn't it also considered so when from Christian leaders? That is the essence of holding a double-standard. He just wants them to be held accountable for their actions and deeds, without an eye to the religion they practice.
posted by mystyk at 8:17 PM on July 11, 2005


Er, but Britain doesn't have a First Amendment--their free speech rights and other rights (property, bearing arms, etc.) have different legal grounding and scope than American citizens' rights do. So we're talking apples and oranges here, yes?
posted by Asparagirl at 8:24 PM on July 11, 2005


So, is this kind of free speech from British muslim scholars acceptable?

Personally, I think it's a great move
posted by Jimbob at 8:34 PM on July 11, 2005


I agree that what is good for the goose should be good for the gander. If the mullahs are criminal then so are the born again hate mongers, although we do have a serious border issue here as pointed out by Asparagirl. However, we should be very careful about how we move the line between agreement with the objectives and incitement to violence. When will your expression of support for some radical group (I pick PETA mostly because I can not support them, but understand other's support) cross over into inciting violence. If you say something intemperate like "that fur coat wearing bitch deserved to be splattered with pig's blood" on some hypothetical group blog have you incited violence? Should the Feds come looking for you? If you really hate PETA, substitute your favorite fringe group. It need not be as radical as PETA. [If you have none, consider yourself successfully subsumed into the machine.]
posted by caddis at 8:35 PM on July 11, 2005


I don't really remember the "Every citizen shall be entitled to a cell phone..." portion of the Bill of Rights.

What rights do you remember? Seriously... I want to know what you think your/our rights actually are. Any time you're ready...
posted by odinsdream at 8:38 PM on July 11, 2005


Quite so Asparagirl.

On a practical point, our Christians are much more likely to be of the happy- clappy non-threatening variety. A recent survey showed some astonishing proportion of C of E vicars do not even believe in God![link missing]

mystyk: Of course it makes no difference which team someone inciting murder supports. How could it?
posted by Ugandan Discussions at 8:40 PM on July 11, 2005


Actually, I point back to the quote I referenced. It did not stipulate US law versus Brit Law. Before you get all "it was implied" on me, remember that it doesn't have to specify! BOTH countries have laws forbidding hate speech that specifically incites violence. Even then, it's the group that's on the wrong side of the political meter that pays all the tolls for crossing the line. You don't see Ann Coulter locked up, do you? Recall some of the vitrol she's spewed, and she routinely emphasizes the need for action to be taken against other groups.
posted by mystyk at 8:43 PM on July 11, 2005


No one has claimed responsibility.

Actually, two different organizations (first, second) have claimed responsibility.

No one has made demands.

"We will not keep quiet or stay idle until Islam is safe in the lands of Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine."

Hey, just like 9/11.

Wait--no one claimed responsibility for 9/11? You mean, aside from al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, right?
posted by ori at 8:43 PM on July 11, 2005


The infrastructure, my friend, lies in the ability to get hold of military explosive.

I don't know that I buy this. No, I know I don't. I've seen the 60 Minutes special where they went down to some military base in a poor community in the USA. On the black market there, they bought machine guns, ammo, stinger missiles, night vision goggles, explosives, and two engines to an F-16! (the whole damn turbine engine to the jet!). It's amazing what poor GIs on food stamps will steal and sell to make ends meet. Imagine how much higher the incentive would be in, say, Uganda or Syria or whatnot, where money is even more scarce.

So I don't think military explosives necessarily implies any great infrastructure or the involvement of some state.
posted by teece at 8:52 PM on July 11, 2005


The simultaneous explosions and quantity of explosives indicated an infrastructure. This was known in the first hours. The violence of the blasts and particularly the black smoke are signs of plastique, though other high explosives using RDX also leave these kind of traces. This was also immediately obvious. Commercial explosives (such as are used in quarries and mines) are preferred not to leave a lot of fumes and smoke. This is all the "military explosives" mean: not much.

So this isn't breaking news, despite the Whines' breathlessly stuffy tone.

The fact that such a quantity of explosives was brought into London indicates that there's a big hole in security. The Brits are supposed to a little more on top of things. Which suggests this is a new network that is unknown to them, has good operational security and access to pretty sophisticted explosives technology. No wonder the security services are somewhat taken aback.

On the other hand, it's early days in the investigation. We're just starting to hear about the forensics.
posted by warbaby at 8:54 PM on July 11, 2005


Is everyone to be labelled a neo-con?

If you disagree with them, yes. It is nice catch-all slur.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:05 PM on July 11, 2005


I'm surprised nobody has invoked this yet (courtesy of boingboing(don't shoot the messenger)).
posted by mullingitover at 9:08 PM on July 11, 2005


that's already everywhere, mulling. posted here a few days ago.

rudepundit on Blair: ...And think about Tony Blair for just one moment: dicked over time and again by George Bush and the United States on every world issue except for the war in Iraq. Think about the Prime Minister, coming back to London from that fine resort in Scotland, ready to hear about and talk about carnage. And let us think that, for a moment, he may have wondered if he's been played for a sucker by the neocon right and the White House. As the death toll rises, perhaps a thoughtful man, which we here in the U.S. with our thoughtless leaders often hope Blair is (in the same way we thought Colin Powell was an honest man), couldn't be blamed for second-guessing himself. Oh, no, he can't show it. But perhaps, in his sickened heart of hearts, as the police try to dig out the shattered corpses from the tunnels, Blair knows, fucking knows he's walked down the garden path with the very man who would put a bullet in the back of his skull if such an act would benefit the powerful in the United States, that he's tossed his chips onto a table filled with cheaters. Sure, he tried to bluff with sexed up documents and lies of his own, but he had no idea who he was dealing with. ...
posted by amberglow at 9:10 PM on July 11, 2005


Actually, Steve, you'll notice that Uganda introduced neo-con in the same accusation of ad hom. An own goal or a self-link, eh?

Speaking of own goals, how about that disembodied head? Bruce Hoffman is probably breathing a sigh of relief after that Atlantic article, "The Logic of Suicide Terrorism" from June 2003.
posted by warbaby at 9:14 PM on July 11, 2005


mulling : >
posted by amberglow at 9:14 PM on July 11, 2005


The fact that such a quantity of explosives was brought into London indicates that there's a big hole in security.

40lb of explosives can enter London inthrough a very small hole. It will nicely fit in a carry-on type of suitcase. You just drop it in your car boot/trunk and drive it from the Balkan to the channel and onto a ferry. Only a small amount of cars are actually checked. And to enter London you just have to pay the Congestion Tax.
posted by kika at 9:19 PM on July 11, 2005


As reported by Drudge (this link will die in hours or days), a further act of cowardice. :

All 12,000 members of the U.S. Air Force stationed in Britain have been told not to travel inside inner London because of the risk of further bomb attacks.

The news provoked fury from British MPs who pointed out that the UK had been America's staunchest ally in the wake of September 11.

They said it handed a symbolic victory to the terrorists.

posted by caddis at 9:24 PM on July 11, 2005


"Military Explosives"

Hmmm.... They couldn't possibly be some of the immeasurable quantities of explosives that casually meandered out of Iraq shortly after "liberation" could they?
posted by Jon-o at 9:24 PM on July 11, 2005


This is all the "military explosives" mean: not much.

I haven't heard any one recall the pre-election story of Saddam's giant armory bunkers/warehouses full of "military explosives" being completely looted prior to the invasion.

I don't have a link handy but from memory weren't there like thousands of tons of the really bad stuff missing? If the reports are correct, that these were small, ~10lb bombs, then it would seem like the entire amount would be small enough to fit into a small backpack and be easily smuggled into the country in the same manner that illegal drugs enter. To me that doesn't sound like a "big" security hole...it sounds more like someone finally got around to exploiting the normal smuggling channels. Then again maybe I am missing something.
posted by well_balanced at 9:33 PM on July 11, 2005


In other news, cellphones have now joined nailclippers in the list of things Americans can't be trusted with.

Terrorism: another thing with which the Mefi community cannot be trusted...
posted by ParisParamus at 9:34 PM on July 11, 2005


Hmmm.... They couldn't possibly be some of the immeasurable quantities of explosives that casually meandered out of Iraq shortly after "liberation" could they?

Not to encourage you to use care up on that high horse or anything, but Europe has had plenty of other sources of military hardware of late. Don't forget how much material leaked out of the collapse of the former Soviet Union, the former Yugoslavia, and the rest of the Balkan nightmare. I also don't know what "grade" material the IRA had been using, but I suspect that it was somewhere between bathroom brew and full-on military.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 9:34 PM on July 11, 2005


Europe has had plenty of other sources of military hardware of late

Well, no shit!
A few years ago, I saw something on Court TV or the History Channel about some drug lord who got a breath away from buying a Soviet submarine, crew and missiles included, before he was busted.
Wasn't it within the past 6 years that Russia was auctioning piles of military equipment?

The explosives could have come from absolutely anywhere. I was just pointing out that they could have been provided by the botched Iraq invasion. It's just as plausible considering the limited information we have.

up on that high horse
Oh spare me.
posted by Jon-o at 9:46 PM on July 11, 2005


Well, 40 lbs is a lot. Where'd that number come from? It's about right, but I'm interested if there's a source.

Plastique is about the same density as fruitcake, so it isn't exactly inconspicuous in those quantities. When Ressam got popped in Port Townsend, they only found his explosives (only primer and detonators) after searching the car. His partner's bolting tipped off the security. So the ability to move 40 pounds is supposed to be above the threshold of detectability.

And it's not hard to get ahold of in many places. Merrie Olde England is not supposed to be one of them, though. So how it got into the country is a question worth knowing the answer to.

Plausible covers so much ground as to be meaningless. Wait for the evidence. Or at least be clear about what is blue sky speculation without a shred of foundation -- i.e. a distraction. It's a big echo chamber in here and you just saw Steve get trolled with the neo-con canard.

Ha. Hoist on his own canard!
posted by warbaby at 9:55 PM on July 11, 2005


Steve: neo-con == neo-conservative == new conservative.

Lot's of people assign neo-con membership to folks that aren't really neo-con. But that is not a slur. It's just one of the many political classifications out there, many of which are misapplied.

Indeed, it could only be a slur if one assumes there is something fundamentally wrong with being a new conservative. You aren't arguing that, are you?
posted by teece at 10:04 PM on July 11, 2005


"...by the force of up to 10lb of high explosives."

That number was widely reported today...attributed to "experts" or "authorities". I am assuming that all four bombs were more or less the same size when I said 40lbs.
posted by well_balanced at 10:20 PM on July 11, 2005


A decapitated head was found at the bus scene which has been, in Israeli experience, the sign of a suicide bomber.

Wow.
posted by stbalbach at 10:22 PM on July 11, 2005


BOTH countries have laws forbidding hate speech that specifically incites violence

The US does not have any laws restricting hate speech.
posted by delmoi at 10:27 PM on July 11, 2005


Sub AND crew? Cool! Can I just get a sailor or two? How much? Mmm, sea food!

As others said, military explosive requires neither a great conspiracy nor gaping holes in security.
posted by Goofyy at 10:59 PM on July 11, 2005


PAPER: US TELLS FORCES TO 'STAY OUT OF LONDON'

American defense chiefs faced condemnation last night for banning U.S. airmen from entering London, the Uk's DAILY MAIL will report on Tueday.

All 12,000 members of the U.S. Air Force stationed in Britain have been told not to travel inside inner London because of the risk of further bomb attacks.

The news provoked fury from British MPs who pointed out that the UK had been America's staunchest ally in the wake of September 11.

They said it handed a symbolic victory to the terrorists.

Even as news of the order emerged yesterday, President Bush was promising that America 'will not retreat in the face of terrorists', and voicing his solidarity with Londoners. Shortly after thebombings he declared in his weekly radio address: 'In this dark hour, the people of Great Britain can know that the American people stand with them.'

But yesterday U.S. officials were justifying the travel ban as a 'prudent' move. 'The security of our people is our main concern,' they said.

MPs said the spectacle of the world's most powerful armed forces being too scared to walk the streets of London was a symbolic victory for the terrorists.

The message that the city was unsafe for Americans would also have a devastating impact on the tourist industry, which relies heavily on the 3.6million U.S. visitors each year.

The order to U.S.A.F. personnel, who form the bulk of America's military presence in Britain, was issued on Friday. It applies whether they are on or off duty.

Even those with urgent business in the capital, such as visiting their embassy or the Ministry of Defence, must seek special permission.

Families and civilian staff at U.S. bases have also been 'strongly advised' to avoid London, and a number of theatre trips or sightseeing visits have been cancelled, the paper claims.

posted by amberglow at 11:02 PM on July 11, 2005


Reuters
U.S. tells troops to stay out of London after bombs
(better link than drudge)
posted by amberglow at 11:04 PM on July 11, 2005


A decapitated head was found at the bus scene which has been, in Israeli experience, the sign of a suicide bomber.
--posted by stbalbach


Forensically speaking, the decapitated head is often specifically symptomatic of suicide bombers who wear explosive belts. And, a belt bomb may not be the case with the bus explosion in London.

There is a BBC interview with Richard Jones, a man who exited the attacked double-decker one stop before the blast. From this report we may have the possibility that the bomb was in a rucksack.

Mr. Jones tells us that the double-decker was packed. If so, decapitation could have been the result of the proximity of people packed towards the blast origin. Or the bomb tender himself could have been fussing over his bomb setting it off...and so lost his head.

The speculation has at a one time veered towards a scenario where the 5th bomber was supposed to have taken a tube target, but missed his connection, and took instead a second target by boarding and detonating his bomb on a bus.

Much speculation though...myself included...and it's actually still very very early in the investigation. The next 48 hours should bring us confirmed and far firmer information.
posted by Dunvegan at 12:31 AM on July 12, 2005


> The US does not have any laws restricting hate speech.

Good thing for metafilter that it doesn't. There's quite a rainbow array of violence-approving hate speech that's A-OK with the peanut gallery here. Just be sure to aim it at somebody we don't like and it's entirely cool with the trend-setters.

posted by jfuller at 2:28 AM on July 12, 2005


Good thing for metafilter that it doesn't. There's quite a rainbow array of violence-approving hate speech that's A-OK with the peanut gallery here.

The "sensitive guy" act won't really get you laid. Especially not on the Internet. So drop it.

Seriously-- why are you making such a tenuous connection to this thread with the one you want to whine about? Keep it in that thread.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:21 AM on July 12, 2005


And it's not hard to get ahold of in many places. Merrie Olde England is not supposed to be one of them, though. So how it got into the country is a question worth knowing the answer to

Well, enough people have managed to get explosives into England (which just for the record hasn't been merrie, or indeed olde, since the eighteenth century) over the last thrity years. I mean, if people can try and smuggle 60 people inside a container you'd think 40lbs of explosives wouldn't be too much of a struggle.
posted by ciderwoman at 3:35 AM on July 12, 2005


> The "sensitive guy" act won't really get you laid. Especially not on the Internet. So drop it.

Sensite guy? Me? Who said I have any problem with violent hate speech? I especially approve of it. Because...

> Numerous religious leaders within the us have directly encouraged violence
> against groups they dislike, often homosexuals, abortionists, etc.
> If that isn't incitement to murder, and thus illegal, why is the mullah's statements?
> Conversely, if the mullah's speech is incitement, why isn't it also considered so
> when from Christian leaders? That is the essence of holding a double-standard.

...metafilter notoriously has a double standard with regard to itself -- violence-inciting hate speech is fine for us (as shown in the meta thread I linked), villainous from anyone else -- and the community may usefully be reminded of that double standard at the drop of a hat, especially when I feel like encouraging violence against folks I don't like. The connection to this thread is: double standards are what's done around here, so it's complaints about double standards that ring hollow. What's sauce for the goose...

Sensitive guy, forsooth. Amber, if you're still awake could you please vouch for my insensitivity?
posted by jfuller at 4:52 AM on July 12, 2005


Ah, there's no petty and unworthy joy like throwing people's hyperbole in their face, is there, jfuller?
posted by sonofsamiam at 5:43 AM on July 12, 2005


US Air Force lifts ban on London trips
The ban on US Air Force personnel entering London following last week's terror attacks has been lifted, the US embassy said today.

The move followed criticism from police, politicians and tourism officials in the capital.

(...) London transport commissioner and US citizen Bob Kiley said the directive had been in place too long.

The former CIA agent said: "Maybe the instruction had some logic to it on Friday when it was given on Thursday, but inasmuch as that order is still in effect now, there's a major or a colonel or a brigadier general whose future is very much at stake as we speak. Not smart."
posted by funambulist at 6:34 AM on July 12, 2005


warbaby writes "And it's not hard to get ahold of in many places. Merrie Olde England is not supposed to be one of them, though. So how it got into the country is a question worth knowing the answer to."

I don't know what the border between France and England is like but if it's anything like the checks between the US and Canada 40lbs of any formable medium density material should be a piece of cake. For example I must have driven across the board upwards of 100 times and I've only been dog sniffed once. And that time only because I was carrying a laptop.
posted by Mitheral at 8:30 AM on July 12, 2005


Ah, Mitheral, you're not a terrorist. *grins*

There are essentially four levels of terrorist violence:
1) Less than 10 casualties - small incident
2) 10-100 - serious incident
3) 100+ but emergency services can reach most victims in 30 minutes - mass casualty incident
4) emergency services can't reach 100+ victims within 24 hours (i.e. emergency services are overwhelmed) - catastrophic incident

These levels are generally recognized, but aren't rigid, they are mostly a framework for thinking about this stuff.

It's expected that small incidents are going to happen, that serious incidents will occur but some portion (say 50% should be prevented) and that all mass casualty and worse incidents should be prevented. Not that they will all be prevented, but any that leak through security mean that you'd better seriously review policies and procedures and get things a little tighter.

The London bombings are a bad mass casualty incident. So we need to find out how it happened and make some corrective actions. The terrorists know exactly how they did it and it'd be pretty dumb to let them do it twice.
posted by warbaby at 9:10 AM on July 12, 2005


warbaby writes "Ah, Mitheral, you're not a terrorist."

True. I see what your saying: England should be trying to track down how the material was sourced. Whether it was produced locally or came over from somewhere else their is the possiblity of a gapping hole in security that could be plugged or at least the attractiveness reduced. Just like in computer security if you don't at least try to plug the exploit after you clean the system the cracker will be back next week.
posted by Mitheral at 11:03 AM on July 12, 2005


Precisely. It's really a struggle for knowledge. You want to know everything that the opponent knows and more. You don't want him to know anything you know.
posted by warbaby at 11:20 AM on July 12, 2005


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