Worst bombing in London since World War II.

By now you’ve all probably heard that terrorists have bombed London. So far the death toll stands at 37 with possibly 700 wounded and is likely to climb higher as time passes. I’ve been listening to the coverage of the event on NPR throughout the day and I just wanted to take a moment to say that the British people are in my thoughts. We have a number of regulars here at SEB that call the United Kingdom their home and I hope you all are still with us and I can see that at least one of you is still around.

I don’t have a whole lot to say about it other than to ponder the not so distant claims of the Bush Administration that they had broken the back of al Qaeda. They seem to be pretty strong to me. Assuming, of course, that this was an al Qaeda operation. Whatever. I just hope the death toll stays pretty low for you folks.

31 thoughts on “Worst bombing in London since World War II.

  1. GM and I lived in London a couple of years ago, just as the IRA resumed their bombing campaign. While we’re not strangers to bombs going off in London, it suppose you feel more deeply if you’ve been to the places that have been hit.

    At least one of the Tube stations was part of the daily commute of people we knew back then. We’re trying to find out if they’re okay.

    A claim of responsibility and being responsible are two different things, but I wouldn’t bet against al-Qaida, one way or the other.

  2. What’s sad… is that I actually have that thought in the back of my head where it would not suprise me if it was just a set up – claiming it is al-Qaida.  I distrust some of the people in charge that much.

    After all, we are not hearing much about stuff like this http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4637509.stm and that actually made it to the news.  Maybe I just have an overactive imagination but I do not think I’m odd for believing they are up to much worse.

    My thoughts to all those who are affected though.  I wish they’d make an island or something where any group that has a beef with another group can duke it out and leave innocent people alone.

  3. I can see some young people in the Middle East who are poor, improvished, stupid and ignorant, being indoctrinated by these religious extremeists. What REALLY gets me though, is the fact that there are some well educated (Western education) people living in North America and Europe who also believe this crap the fundamentalist put out.
    This is twelfth century thinking, and anyone who lives in the twenty first centrury and still buys into it is seriously bent! And I mean SERIOUSLY!

  4. I would be willing to bet the party claiming responcibility had jack shit to do with it.

    It seems quite par for the world.. it’s just not on the west bank or in the congo or eritrea. overall the us and britan are
    probably coming in dead last when it comes to percentage of population decimated by some horrible atrocities.

    whoever it was, I hope they get em.

  5. If it was Al Queda, they must be desperate for headlines. They’ve recently built up a lot of support and sympathy among Britains more extremist Muslims, so bombing London is shitting on their own doorstep.

    That said, other candidates that have been suggested are anarchists (my first thought, I’m embarassed to say) and the Irish. Both require a massive leap of the imagination.

    As Qoayn said, I hope that whoever it is the British get them.

  6. Doubtful it’s the IRA.  They’ve backed off as they’ve been recognized.  It’d be just as stupid, or more so for them to resume bombings right now as for Al Queda.

  7. What’s sad… is that I actually have that thought in the back of my head where it would not suprise me if it was just a set up – claiming it is al-Qaida.  I distrust some of the people in charge that much.

    Subhopping, much as I also distrust the “people in charge”, I seriously doubt that the British or the Americans would bomb London.  The link you provided is a case of “extraordinary rendition”, where a suspect is kidnapped and turned over to a third-world country for “interrogation”.  As reprehensible as this is, it’s not the same as random bombing of civilians.

    I don’t know who did it, but I’m betting on Al Qaeda or an allied group.  Apparently the attack on the bus was a suicide bomber, which would pretty much rule out the CIA or the M16.

  8. zilch said:

    …which would pretty much rule out the CIA or the M16.

    I don’t usually run around correcting people. For the sake of anyone reading this thread that isn’t familiar with British government terminology (and hasn’t seen any James Bond movies), however, I’d like to point out that zilch meant to say MI6, not M16.

    MI6 is a British spy agency similar to the American CIA. The M16 is an assault rifle used by the U.S. military as their primary infantry weapon.

  9. We still don’t have answers about who was responsible for this one, but it bears many of the earmarks of an Al Quaeda operation, or that of an Al Quaeda affiliate—attacks on the U.S. or those guilty by association (other Crusaders), coordinated events (timers may have been used this time), and selection of soft targets resulting in mass killings of civilians. The timing of the last two attacks to corresponding to a major event in the target country may indicate an evolving strategy.

    moses: What REALLY gets me though, is the fact that there are some well educated (Western education) people living in North America and Europe who also believe this crap the fundamentalist put out.

    Remember that many of the 911 hijackers were well educated and came from reasonably affluent families. I suspect that the folks who planted explosives on the subway cars fit a similar profile.

    An article by Lee Harris provides an interesting and somewhat chilling insight into the terrorist attack of 911 and those that followed. Harris maintains that these attack have the characteristics of a blood feud rather than those of a war. A little different slant on things, but we already knew that the so-called war on terror would be a long term affair.

    Expanding a little on something else moses said; yes it’s twelfth (eighth?) century, and yes it’s tribal. Do “they” hate us because of our freedom? I think Bush had it wrong on this one. The probably hate us because we are, to them, infidel crusaders.

  10. Considering number of victims these clearly weren’t targeted against that ordinary western citizen like claimed.
    If perpetrators would have aimed to mass killing of ordinary people they could have easily killed hundreds of people, just think what mess Claymore like explosives (“bomber” could easily carry couple of those under clothing) would have caused when detonated in public place like trainstation in rush hour.

  11. I think people should understand what is in the Koran to understand what is happening in the world. The Koran calls for all Muslims to fight and kill infidels ie. non-muslims. This guarantees you into heaven. in fact, in Islam that is the only guarantee into heaven.  According to the koran you can live a good life, help people, and be exemplary in every respect, and still you have to be judged by Allah.  Kill some infidels and you are in – guaranteed.  The language and words in the koran are clear unlike some of the stories in the Bible. The argument some people have is that these terrorists are somehow “twisting islam”, but that is not the case at all – they are following Islam and what is written in the koran. Fully 60% of the writings in the koran deal with killing, fighting, and jihad. While it is true that not all muslims kill innocents or believe that it is right, these muslims are not “good muslims” in that they do not follow the koran to the letter.
    Let me ask you something – how many times have you heard a high ranking Islam scholar condemn terrorist attacks against non-muslims?? answer: you dont. Also people say that there are passages that promote peace and love and harmony with other religions in the koran – this is true, however these are muhammed’s early writings and the top Islam scholars have declared that muhammed’s later writings supercede these earlier peaceful tolerant writings. we have a major problem on our hands as americans and non-muslims. simply stated – they want us(and everyone) converted to islam or dead. this problem will not go away in our lifetimes.

  12. Same way Bible includes source for racism, idea that those believing to it are better than others, “god’s chosen people”.
    Weak-minded brainless fools and religion is always dangerous combination.

    http://dna.whi.net/data/z-misc/how to make war work.jpg

  13. Grand Mufti condemns attack on U.S. consulate

    The Kingdom’s Grand Mufti, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah Al Al-Sheikh, condemned and denounced the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Jeddah on Monday 6th December 2004.

    In a statement published in the Jeddah-based Al-Madinah newspapers today, Al Al-Sheikh said that attacking the U.S. consulate, throwing explosives, killing and wounding innocent people, and undermining stability and security utterly contradict the teachings of Islam.

    He said that all citizens and residents in the Kingdom are entitled to peace and security under the law, and no religious scholar could condone such criminal, terrorist attacks on innocent people.

    Source: SPA


    Makkah Imam Urges Muslims to Shun Terror

    As millions of faithful marked ‘Eed al-Adhaa yesterday, Muslims were warned against heeding militant calls to wage terrorist attacks in the name of Islam.

    The warning came, amid a surge in militant attacks in Muslim countries and beyond, from Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais, imam of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, while addressing Haj pilgrims in a customary ‘Eed sermon. The imam also advised Islamic scholars to preach moderation to confront this “rotten

  14. im no bible thumper – trust me.  the most important difference between the bible and koran is that the bible does not endorse killing of non-believers. the koran does. and thats not an interpretation or my thoughts….here is the passage:  Those who reject Islam must be killed. If they turn back from Islam, take hold of them and kill them wherever you find them.
    and another:  Fight and slay the pagans wherever you find them, and seize them, surround them, and lie in wait for them.
    these muslim terrorist are not weak-minded or psychopaths or nuts, they simply follow islam and its teachings.

  15. Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man by lying with him.

    Moses on killing the Midianites Numbers 31.17

    If a prophet arises among you…  But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death…

    Deuteronomy 13.1-5

    If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son, or your daughter, or the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is as your own soul, entices you secretly,…  ,but you shall kill him…

    Deuteronomy 13.6-9

      By the way, my previous post was more debating the veracity of this claim:

    how many times have you heard a high ranking Islam scholar condemn terrorist attacks against non-muslims?? answer: you dont.

      I think that I showed enough quotes and links to disprove that assertion.

  16. im not here to defend the bible or acts done by people in the bible.  the bible was written by men, and the koran was written by one man.  I was speaking of the basic tenets of christianity and islam.  christianity today is not a violent, murderous, world-conquering religion and islam is.  and non-muslims should know what we are up against, ie. a bunch of people actively seeking, according to the koran, to either convert us or kill us.

  17. Sayeth bill:

    christianity today is not a violent, murderous, world-conquering religion and islam is.

    Perhaps you can provide some data on exactly what percentage of Muslims are currently terrorists?

    If Islam is a murderous, world-conquering religion today, then why isn’t France (which has a substantial and growing Muslim population) currently in the throes of a civil war?

  18. i have no idea what percentage are terrorists.  I am only telling you that the koran commands its followers to kill the infidels which are non-muslims.  As far as France goes, i have no idea what the political structure/atmosphere is there.  I know there are a large number of muslims there.
    According to Mark Gabriel, author of the book Islam and Terrorism, and who was an Islamic scholar for 12 years in Egypt, they promote a peaceful image of Islam is actively following the plan laid down in the Koran. Here’s the plan: First, where Muslims are a minority, they should build their numbers within the country by converting people and having lots of babies. Then, as their numbers increase, they should start to prepare for an eventual overthrow of the government. And when the time is right, it is their duty as Muslims to rise up and establish an Islamic state. Yes, this is apparently in the Koran. And also included are instructions for deceiving the unbelievers. So you will hear people who say “Islam is a religion of peace” who themselves are actively working toward the eventual violent takeover of a country.

    According to Gabriel, deceiving the enemy is recommended in the Koran. An enemy is defined as a non-Muslim.

  19. Uber, just after I read your post, PBS started a rerun of the Frontline special Al Qaeda’s New Front. This is from their profile on France.

    + On Christmas Eve, 1994, members of the GIA, an Algerian terrorist group, hijacked an Air France jet and planned to crash it into the Eiffel Tower. French commandos stormed the plane when it stopped to refuel in Marseilles, killing the four hijackers and rescuing the 170 passengers. The GIA said it ordered the hijacking to punish France for its support of the Algerian government in Algeria’s civil war.

    + In the summer and fall of 1995, a wave of bombings hit the Paris metro system, killing eight and wounding 200. In October 2002, two GIA members were sentenced to life in prison in for their role in the attacks.

    + In 1998, French counterterror judge Jean-Louis Bruguiére and others uncovered a plot against the World Cup soccer tournament. Around 150 suspects were detained in sweeps in multiple European countries and several people were convicted for their roles in the plot.

    + Islamic militants planned to blow up the famous Christmas Market in Strasbourg on New Year’s Eve 2000; cooperation between French and German police helped uncover the plot. In December 2004, 10 Algerians and French nationals of Algerian descent were convicted for the plot and sentenced to between one and 10 years in prison.

    + On Sept. 10, 2001, French authorities opened an investigation into a plot to bomb the U.S. embassy in Paris. Djamel Beghal, a French-Algerian, was arrested in Dubai in July 2001. Authorities there said he confessed to planning the attack, but Beghal later claimed his confession was extracted under torture. In March 2005, Djamel Beghal and five others were convicted by a French court of conspiring to carry out the Paris embassy plot, and Beghal was sentenced to the maximum 10 years. Counting time already served since his initial arrest, Beghal is due to be released in 2011.

    Not exactly the peaceable kingdom either.

    There a couple of problems here. The Imams who serve the Mosques in Europe are not home grown and tend to come from the middle east. Some number of them are radical. Radical Imams form North Africa have toured and spoken in the European Mosques. Further many Muslims believe that suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilian targets is acceptable in defense of Islam. There is a breakdown by country on page 15 of this 2002 Pew survey. The table does not include Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt, Iran, Sudan, Iraq, and Palestinian territories. No I haven’t looked up population figures and done the math, but we’re not talking about small numbers of people holding these beliefs. Certainly, no one can say how many Muslim terrorists there are but the ground sure seems fertile.

  20. I look at the London bombing as a classroom excercise for a cell-in-training, and says nothing of alQaeda’s strength.  The metrics have changed, and here’s why…

    It’s unlikely this was a “traditional” alQaeda operation, akin to the Cole or 9/11.  More likely, it was a franchise-esque type of operation.  More to the point, the size and quality of the attack speaks much to alQaeda’s new, currently still forming type of re-organization and new way of operation.

    After the US destroyed alQaeda’s centralized operations in Afghanistan their leadership developed a different structure of authority.  Traditionally, intelligence/terror/insurgency cells operate with one head, who then reports to a regional/station chief who, in turn, reports back to an even more central authority.  Think of a pyramid.

    (The purpose of this structure is to try to eliminate your greatest liability of operation: humans working in the field.  People working in the field tend to get caught, or flagged for surveilence when their doing what they do (scoping out potential targets, detaling the site’s layout, performing tests gauging public/security reponses at the site, and actual dry runs).  If they get caught, then they’ll usually give-up their fellow cellmates. But, their handler will, traditionally, keep the cell’s head in the dark as to who he himself is, lives, works, etc.  They usually only know a regular meeting area, signals, etc.  So, with this structure, cells fall alone, not together.  It’s like automatically cauterizing a fault in the system, disallowing it to spread.)

    After Afghanistan, alQaeda went into hyper-mode redacting all sorts of “knowledge of the way”, stealing a phrase from London’s black cabs, ironically.  The idea being, train a few to train many, and keep the proven techniques widely available (and adhered to) in word form.  It’s a franchise mode of operation.

    This means that the 7/7 cell in London, most likely, has one, maybe two, people who know how to conduct a time co-ordinated bombing across multiple targets (not an easy thing to do, despite what MSNBC/Fox/et al might say).  Many people are looking at this operation as a teaching-ground type of event.

    As a result, many believe that suicide bombers were not used, but are being training (and saved) for a greater, more lethal operation in London’s future.


    (BTW, the deathtoll would have been much, much, much greater if the carriages themselves were not so greatly packed with people.  Many people were saved by the simple fact that other, tightly packed human bodies absorbed the force of the blast, and the accompanying shrapnel.  Claymores, believe it or not, would have similiar deathtolls—and probably much less than the 4-5 kilos used in each attack on 7/7)

  21. Within a few hours after the London attack hit the American media, a pipe bomb was dropped off at the grocery store where I take my little people to buy our food. It was discovered before it went off, so no one was hurt. There was no terrorist cell connection, but likely just a local nut job with the know-how.

    There is such a willingness to blame religion for terrorism (among other things), and I just have to call bullshit. There is so much more going on than people who put too much stock in a book that reads “kill people.” Take abortion clinic bombers for instance. Those people are not motivated by the Bible. They are motivated by a passionate belief that the murders of babies are happening in those clinics (crazy or not). The Bible and the Christian religion serve as no more than a rallying cry and maybe a twisted defense (much like lawyers find loopholes in the law). The same is true for radical Muslims.

    Someone else can give a history lesson if one is needed, but if you listen to/read what is said by, say, angry Iraqis, it is clear the point of religion is almost moot. Take a young boy who has just watched his home and family get blown to pieces. Say to him, “join me in the name of God (Allah, whatever) to end this atrocity.” If he goes, his motive is not his religion; it is revenge, it is his passionate belief that the US has wronged his people, his family etc. His religion serves as common ground with the people around him, and it also serves to comfort his fears (particularly of the afterlife.) It serves as support for the boy in the example and for others less directly affected by those examples often given by relatives and neighbors.

    Now that is not to say some vulnerable people are not ever fooled into wrong-doing by religious leaders. If that were true, cults would not be so dangerous.

    That is to say people in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places have motive enough to join a fight against the United States without religion. Religion is just an agitator, and in some cases, not even that. I would bet religion as the motive is actually rare. It seems to me that even if religion and guns and bombs were annihilated, this fight would be fought with swords and slingshots and a strong, even if misguided, sense of justice. It seems to me then, that the problem is bigger than religion, and to focus on religion is to be distracted. Considering their religion is essential, but blaming it is denial.

    I think. At the moment.

  22. There is such a willingness to blame religion for terrorism (among other things), and I just have to call [this] bullshit.

    Very, very true !
    Finally an observation that reaches beyond mere ideological beliefs to find facts; This is a truly lost American Art.

    Religion has very little to do with the current manifestation of global terrorism:

    In Iraq…
    The average Iraqi is, in stark contrast to the wider MidEast, very nationalistic. While this nationalism fosters a certain toleration for the insurgency, and a simmering dislike for the standing occupation, religion is (increasingly) playing a minor role in this conflict.  The Iraqi insurgency falls under two types: Secularist-Sunni or Islamic Extremist.  Most Iraqis, when asked, passionately hate the Islamic Extremists’ faction, and find very little in common with their radical religious rhetoric, never mind terrorist operations.  People like Muq’tda alSadr are very out-of-favour in present day Iraq, never mind a guy like Zarqawi.

    The Palestinian/Israeli conflict…
    Most Westerners, easily and stupidly, focus this conflict upon religious differences.  This is just laziness.  Many of both intifadah’s leadership are Christian, not Islamic.  This is a nation-to-nation conflict about land, and has nothing really to do with religion.

    alQaeda’s War Against The West…
    Very much akin to techniques developed by Jim Jones and his handlers, alQaeda’s core leadership has used religion as a fast-acting organisational glue, quickly bonding together people from fairly disparate backgrounds to do extremely difficult/distasteful things in a moment’s notice.  alQaeda has far more to do with fascism than it ever has had with the Islamic religion.

    When i first started studying UBL, alZawahri, and alQaeda in general the first thing you notice is their decidedly secular lifestyles and backgrounds prior to their terrorist activities.  This pattern holds true throughout alQaeda’s core leadership.

    Although Jim Jones was always very religious (and a very good Nazarene by all accounts as a child (monkey in tow)), his use of religious faith is almost clinical in its application during his Peoples’ Temple phase.  If you read about alQaeda’s (or, say, Islamic Jihad’s) preparatory steps for would-be suicide bombers, you’ll see the same exact mentality used by Jones (e.g., suicide-bombers are, as a rule, usually high on drugs when they are deployed to kill themselves and others).  Islam, for alQaeda, is merely the delivery mechanism for actions an individual would otherwise find absolutely distasteful.

    It’s easy to blame religion for this present phase of global terrorism, until you examine the facts.


  23. In 2004 the administration angered the Brits by leaking the name of Naeem Noor Khan precipitating premature arrests in an ongoing investigation. Since the London bombing I have wondered if, had that investigation run its course, the recent bombings might have been prevented or, at least, delayed.

    This ABC News article  confirms my suspicion.

    Security officials tell ABC News they have discovered links between the eldest of the London bombers, Mohammed Sadique Khan, 30, and the original group in Luton. Officials also believe it was not a coincidence the subway bombers all met at the Luton train station last week.

    “It is very likely this group was activated last year after the other group was arrested,” Debat said.

  24. I don’t think this bombing had anything to do with Afghanistan or Iraq….it’s all just an excuse for evil. Hitler needed no excuse, and these idiots are the same. If it’s a retaliation attack, where does 9/11 come into it? I am not a Muslim, I hold no religious beliefs, nor do I know anyone who is a Muslim. I have the deepest respect and sympathy for a people who are having their ancient religion brought into disrepute. I have always, in my restricted understanding admittedly, believed Islam to be a peaceful and profound religion. I still hold that belief.

    These people are just your average yob, hell-bent on destroying everyone else’s good times. I don’t think any forces should pull out of Afghanistan or Iraq…unless the people want them to. I think the British, Americans and Native forces should go all out to hunt the terrorists down and destroy them, and if they pop up again, they should hunt them down again. Why should the few wreak havoc for the many? Don’t forget, Muslims are the victims too.

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