The damage done to Britain

As regards his more general attitude to the war, you must not rely too much on those feelings of hatred which the humans are so fond of discussing in Christian, or anti-Christian, periodicals. In his anguish, the patient can, of course, be encouraged to revenge himself by some vindictive feelings directed towards the German leaders, and that is good so far as it goes. But it is usually a sort of melodramatic or mythical hatred directed against imaginary scapegoats. He has never met these people in real life?they are lay figures modelled on what he gets from newspapers. The results of such fanciful hatred are often most disappointing, and of all humans the English are in this respect the most deplorable milksops. They are creatures of that miserable sort who loudly proclaim that torture is too good for their enemies and then give tea and cigarettes to the first wounded German pilot who turns up at the back door.

        — C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

Britain is crawling with suspected terrorists and those who give them succour. The Government must act without delay, round up this enemy in our midst and lock them in internment camps.

Our safety must not play second fiddle to their supposed ?rights.?

        — Barbarism of twisted cause, unsigned editorial, The Sun

Considering how much the resilience of Londoners during the Blitz has come up over the last week in commentary about the bombings in London, I thought a little war-time C. S. Lewis might be an appropriate contrast to the rantings of London’s fish-wrap press.

Now that there is no longer any doubt that the authors of the bombings in London were British citizens – three born and raised in Yorkshire and one Jamaican born convert – we will see how Britain faces an element of the war on terrorism that has no real parallel to WWII and that Americans, Australians and Spanish people have so far managed to avoid: the prospect that the enemy may not be someone far away. How the British people handle this will say far more about their national character than their resolve to “preserve our way of life, our values of democracy and respect for life”.
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Speculation has begun about who exactly is behind the July 7th bombings. The Sunday Times names Mustafa Setmariam Nasar. The grounds for this is information allegedly received from Spanish authorities.

Nasar, who is Syrian,is thought to have been behind the March 11 bombings in Spain and is considered by Spanish intelligence to have established a ‘sleeper cell’ in the UK. Spanish police did arrive in London on Friday to assist in the enquiries, but there can be a variety of reasons for this.

The Sunday Telegraph also run the story:

Ministers now believe that the bombings – which left at least 49 people dead in Britain’s worst terrorist attack – were the work of a “very, very small number” of individuals who arrived from mainland Europe or North Africa on false passports within the past six months.”

The Mail on Sunday and the News of the World run what may seem to be the rival theory of native born British involvement as detailed by a former Metropolitan Police Chief John Stevens. In fact the two ‘theories’ may simply form different parts of one single picture: Mustafa Nasar may be the brain, and the UK born participants (if they in fact are such) may well be those who placed the bombs. At this stage no combination is obviously ruled out.

Attentive readers of the link in this post yesterday will have noted that Mustafa Setmariam Nasar also goes under the name of Abu Musa?ab al-Suri, and under this name he apparently recently revealed that he is working on a manifesto for designing the future of jihad. According to the Jamestown Foundation in his vision of the future he calls for “a new holy war that employs nuclear, chemical and ?bacteriological? (biological) weapons, and dirty bombs”.

Nothing to see here but (more) death and destruction

I?m grateful for the thought (and the information and the links) that have gone into recent posts by my co-blogger Edward. I find myself disagreeing with him about only one thing: That the London bombing will (or should) lead to a major change in the way we see things, or to the West?s anti-terror strategy in particular.

I certainly don?t support aspect of Western leaders? anti-terror strategy, although I?ve been a proponent of a global war on terror since 2001. (I think the war in Iraq has turned out pretty disastrously, for instance.) So yes, I think something should change. I?m just not sure what the London bombings have to do with it.
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Economic Consequences of Spain’s 11M

Italian consumer confidence has remained near a 10-year low in March in the wake of the Madrid terrorist bombings. In fact the bombings may have hurt sentiment in Italy more than the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. according to a statement from the government-funded Isae institute. The confidence survey, which was carried out between March 1 and March 12, showed that consumers who had been growing more optimistic about the prospects for lower inflation and improvements in unemployment turned pessimistic in the two days after the bombings. In fact while the 22-year-old Italian consumer confidence index touched its all time record low of 93.7 in April 1993, March was the third month in a row that the index has been below 102, the last time it was that low being in February 1994.
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Madrid Bombing: Update But Not Yet A Retraction

Update: Friday morning 8:30 CET. The uncertainty about the authors of this crime continues. I think having been fairly forthright at the start, prudence on my part is now what is called for while the investigation continues. Meanwhile I think it is important we don’t lose sight of the magnitude of what has happened: 198 dead, and 1,430 injured according to the latest government figures. It is with the victims and their families that our first thoughts should go. I will post again if and when there is meaningful news, and in any event around 19.00 CET when the demonstrations will be assembling.

Now: Just to follow up on my Madrid bombing post. I have to recognise that the evidence is now more contradictory than it was this morning when I first posted. First we have the case of the van with the tape: the van in fact contained seven detonators and a tape in Arabic. The Spanish Interior Minister Angel Acebes said the tape had recordings of verses from the Koran.

And then there is the letter to the London based al-Quds newspaper.

A letter purporting to come from Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network has claimed responsibility for the train bombings in Spain, calling them strikes against “crusaders”, according to a London-based Arabic newspaper.

“We have succeeded in infiltrating the heart of crusader Europe and struck one of the bases of the crusader alliance,” said the letter which called the attacks “Operation Death Trains”. There was no way of authenticating the letter, a copy of which was faxed to Reuters’ office in Dubai by the London-based al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper.

So I have to recognise that I may have got it wrong. The emphasis here is on may. If I do have it wrong I seem to be in good company, the UN itself just reached the same conclusion and the first version edition of the Spanish left-of-centre newspaper El Pais has run with a headline similar to that of my original post . One additional question which concerns me is how it was that Batasuna were themselves so rapidly on the Islamic trail. I mean if this isn’t Eta, there has been a terrible failing in international security. The CIA has no information, but Batasuna apparently sees ‘indications’: I don’t quite know what to make of that. Since I’ve presented my own views sufficiently before, and since I may have misjudged things, I present below some alternative hypotheses.
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