2007-07-01

Morning Report: July 1, 2007

Prime Minister Gordon Brown receives a warm welcome from Britain's international community.

Multiple bomb attacks in Britain. That's the weekend's big story, and here's what we've got this morning. Lightningbaron at The Eyrie: 'Either Someone is smiling on England, or they are very very lucky. Yesterday, suspected terrorists tried not once, but twice, to set off two car bombs via cellphone, and failed both times. Today, a jeep loaded with petrol tanks and fuel rammed into an entranceway at Glasgow airport in Scotland in what appears to be an attempted suicide bombing, but everything inside it, for whatever reasons, did not explode. There are eyewitness reports of civilians and police removing petrol tanks from the jeep before it completely was engulfed in flames, as well as civilians and police knocking down and subduing one or both of the suspects, who were still trying to set the car off or stoke the fire, even as they themselves were on fire (that's the kind of mentality we're dealing with here, folks). ... As for the mainstream media here in the states? Well, MSNBC ignored the story all of yesterday morning, finally posting it as a headline on their website initially as: "U.K. terror attack thwarted?" What are they questioning...that it was a terror attack, or that it was thwarted?' Lightningbaron's post is well worth reading in full, and you'll want to consider adding The Eyrie to your browser bookmarks and/or friendslist. Details of the UK bomb incidents follow.

Two car bombs found in London. Counterterrorism Blog has a comprehensive roundup on the two London bombs. 'In London today, a car bomb was defused outside of a central London nightclub at 2 AM (British Time), targeting up to 1,700 people with a combination of gasoline bombs and reportedly a trunk full of nails. London police were contacted when witnesses saw a Mercedes being driven erratically near London West End night club Tiger Tiger, and the driver jumped out of the automobile and ran away. The car was reported to have two gasoline canisters and be full of nails. Witnesses subsequently saw gas canisters being removed from a Mercedes automobile by police at 4 AM BDT. According to the Daily Mail, the apparent target, the Tiger Tiger nightclub in Haymarket, had up to 1,700 people inside. A Daily Mail senior anti-terrorist source said: "This was a viable device which could have caused massive damage and killed hundreds if it had worked. The consequences would have been terrible. This is the scenario that we have dreaded." ... A second car bomb was found during the day in London's West End. The Telegraph reports that "Sources revealed that officers examining a Mercedes found in an underground car park off Park Lane this afternoon discovered an explosive device inside. Earlier this afternoon Park Lane was sealed off and Hyde Park evacuated after bomb experts were called in to examine the car. Security alerts caused by the searches brought much of London to a standstill."' I've quoted text, but you can go to the post for links and details.

Terror strike in Glasgow, Scotland. CTB again:
Sky News reports another "terror strike" in the United Kingdom today, this time in Scotland at Glasgow Airport. Sky News reports that the latest incident involving a flaming Jeep Cherokee SUV ramming Glasgow Airport terminal "is being treated as a terror attack" -- Sky News video report

Per Sky News:"Two Asian men are being held after a burning Jeep was rammed through the terminal building at Glasgow airport... [s]ince the attack, Blackpool airport has been shutdown and security has been tightened at Newcastle and Edinburgh airports."

Later, Sky News also reported that one of the men "was found wearing a suspicious device". Officers would not say whether it was a suicide belt.

Moreover, Sky News is also reporting: "Hundreds of shocked holidaymakers were in the area at the time, and witnesses said some of them removed gas cylinders from the jeep before it caught fire. There are reports the occupants - described as Asian males - were trying to pour petrol on the flames."

Witness reports state they saw between 2 and 4 "Asian males" in the Jeep SUV, and some witness reports stated that they saw molotov cocktails in the Jeep SUV.

BBC reports witnesses stating it appeared the men deliberately tried to set the car on fire. "It looked like they had Molotov cocktails with them... They sort of burst them round about the flames to make sure the car would go up big style."

BBC reports that: "Strathclyde Police said two people had been arrested and detained in connection with the incident. The airport has been evacuated and all flights suspended following the incident at 1515 BST. "

Again, go to the post at CTB for links and full details. And via The Middle Ground, AP reports: 'One of the men in the car was in critical condition at a hospital with severe burns, while the other was in police custody, said Scottish Police Chief Constable Willie Rae. Five bystanders in Glasgow were wounded, although none seriously, police said. Rae said a "suspect device" was found on the man at the hospital and it was taken to a safe location where it was being investigated. He would not say whether the device was a suicide belt, but British security officials said evidence pointed to the attack being a suicide mission. Police later arrested two more suspects in the London and Glasgow plots in Cheshire county in northern England, Scotland Yard said early Sunday. "I can confirm that we believe the incident at Glasgow airport is linked to the events in London yesterday," Rae said at a news conference. "There are clearly similarities and we can confirm that this is being treated as a terrorist incident."' Tammy Bruce: 'This story, like the earlier two attempted London car bombings, changes by the hour. All the reports, while identifying the attack as terrorist, still only identify the attackers as "Asian-looking." Eyewitnesses and hero member of the public describe one of the car bombers as shouting "Allah!" every time he threw a punch. The latest report is the English police are now linking this attack with the two attempted car bombs in London.'

UK at Critical. And once more from our friends at Counterterrorism Blog, the UK is now at its highest terrorism alert level, "Critical".

Reactions to British bombing incidents. Tammy: 'Here's video from a Fox report, with one of the Scottish men who helped subdue the savages. His accent is adorable, just listen closely and you'll be able to understand what he says. At the end the fellow notes that the Scottish love everyone and he doesn't understand why someone would want to bomb Glasgow. It's specifically because we're in a war with an Islamic death Cult which especially hates the happy, optimistic who live civilized lives. That's why no city and no people are immune from this enemy.' GayPatriotWest: 'I don’t think it’s a coincidence that these bombings took place this week, coming as they do, only days offer a new British Prime Minister, a Scot born in Glasgow, site of the attempted airport bombing, assumed office. It seems the terrorists are trying to test him. Or perhaps, acting at a time when, because of the transition, they assume the Brits would be least on their guard. Well, given the example shown by that brave cop in London (do we call him a “bobby“?) who defused one car bomb as well as the police in Glasgow who wrestled the drivers of the burning SUV “to the ground,” it seems the terrorists underestimated our friends across the pond.'

Commentary. There's not much I can add to the pros' analysis of the UK bombings, so I'm going to channel The Belmont Club:
These are the ultimate human dilemmas. You rush up the stairs of the tallest building in New York even though you suspect that ... best not to think about it. You're a minimum wage security guard at an Israeli supermarket and you wrap your arms around a suicide bomber to keep him from coming through the door thinking in the last tenth of a second of your life: will I ever see my family again? You're an off-duty cop in Glasgow trying to put out a human torch that's still trying to kick you and reach for a detonator.

You're in a place very far from the policy debates. Distantly removed from discussions about the ethics of violence, about the doctrines of minimum force or the Geneva Conventions. You are as far from "root causes" as the Andromeda Galaxy is from the Earth. You are in fact, right in the middle of history. This is the way things happen, in the nonsense place where men are saved or lost; where victory is won or eludes. And you never know why, but know only that you must act.