Brutal, pointless, inhuman

Too little to say about the bomb attacks in London; obviously terrorists. We’d been told this would happen, and now it has. And look at the timing: both the day and the hour, just after the Olympic announcement, during the rush hour.

Brutal – without warning, on people innocent of anything except being somewhere. Pointless – because it will stiffen the resolve of people not to be cowed by this. Inhuman – to conceive this, to plan it, to hold it in your mind and work towards a day when you carry it out, you’ve really lost the empathy that makes us human.

I’m only relieved it seems not to have been a dirty bomb. The BBC foreshadowing of how that would unfold was frightening. Interesting too that the BBC chose Liverpool St for that scenario – one of the bomb targets in reality. That’s the station I come into when I travel to London.

For those who haven’t found it: the BBC has a sort of rolling blog of events at


  1. it looks like the russell sq/tavistock place bus was a suicide bomb. it was on the top deck and the bus was full of people who had been forced off the tube at Euston.


  2. >And look at the timing: both the day and the hour, just after the Olympic announcement

    Truly horrifying, though I guess most of us in London knew it was a question of when.
    However, if Al-qaeda planned it based on this, they’re smarter than just about any other organisation who had predicted Paris would have got the games. No doubt they also made a fortune at the bookies too.

    Surely, I would have thought the intention was to make a mark at the time of the G8 summit? That has been known well in advance, and it would have been known the eyes of the world would be on the UK at that time.

    In my opinion, the Olympic decision has coincidentally served to heighten the effect of this despicable act, and of course cause new questions to be asked about how any modern large city can function openly and effectively day-to-day let alone when hosting large events.


  3. Yes, you’re right – it’s the G8, not the Olympics that was the targeted date. I’ll leave my mistake there as a reminder to myself not to be so myopic.

  4. Interestingly, the comments from Londoners on a lot of the coverage have called this an ‘annoyance’, ‘nuisance’ and that ‘this being London, all everyone wants to do is get to work’. Is this the Great British resolve? Or perhaps more an insight based on the fact London and many other UK cities have a history of dealing with terrorist attacks…rolling with the blow and then quickly and efficiently gettign everything back on track.

  5. As a Londoner (for all of 2 years, Croydon before that), I’m saddened by today. But yeah, ultimately, there’s 8 million of us. Some of us are highly trained policeman, or spies who’ve infiltrated terrorist groups, or intelligence analysts who track the evil guys every day. And the rest of us just want to get on with life, and help everyone else do the same (as witnessed at Live8 over the weekend).

    We’ve been here since before the Romans came. We’ve been here through invasions, plagues, and fires. Our grandparents survived the Blitz, and the IRA didn’t stop us. The World Trade Center fell, but New York still stands tall. We’re won’t give up. We’ll still be here once all the bad guys have blown themselves up, still trying to make the world more peaceful.

    Next time, just come and join us for a beer by the Thames. It’s beautiful at sunset.

  6. it occurred to me on the way in this morning from west london on an almost empty Piccadilly line tube that there is definitely a sombre, business as usual feeling in the city today.
    But why should this be the case? A lot of claims have been made about how Londoners are ‘used’ to getting on with life after things like this because of experiences from the Blitz, PIRA through to random pipe bomb nutters (Admiral Duncan / Brixton)and this is true.

    Apart from the obvious scalar difference from Sept 11th, I wonder if the fact that most Londoners have been one step removed from events has cushioned the blow in some small way. In New York millions of people across the city were able to see with their own eyes the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks, central London does not have those kind of vistas, nor is it really a high rise city outside of the finanacial districts, plus three of the four bombs were underground.

    I am particularly worried at what may be done in terms of curtailing individual rights in the name of ‘security’, the unworkable ID cards etc. It is quite clear that without becoming a surveillance state like North Korea (and even then!) the city can never be protected fully against such attacks, and if we take such actions along this route exactly which parts of our ‘way of life’ are left to be protected. I thought Ken Livinstone’s speech from Singapore summed it up rather well, people come from around to London because of the freedom to live life as they choose and to avoid having it imposed upon them.

    “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” — Benjamin Franklin

  7. A couple of thoughts here – completely disconnected.

    1. I found RSS not suitable for use in keeping up with events. Perhaps I’m not using it effectively. But it seems that for Realtime news in this case, it was best to use the TV stations (though I got bored with the endless repetitiveness). Somehow RSS isn’t quite there for reporting on this in a truly realtime way. And it was not easy to on-the-fly pull together sources that had something relevant (perhaps I’m not using some features of NNW that I should).

    2. I’m also a bit disappointed by some of the details reported. Only from the Guardian today have I been able to ascertain that the 3 trains (and I think the bus) were all heading in directions away from each other. The BBC site in fact contradicts this – they report one train heading from Aldgate to Liverpool St. This is pretty important forensic-wise and I would have thought the news organisations would want to ascertain some of this. Even today, the BBC is reporting very little on the intelligence thing. I may be jumping to conclusions in a big way, but I would have thought it a likely scenario that the bombers (whether suicide or not) all came into Kings Cross station, then went separate ways out (West and East on Circle line trains; south on Piccadilly; and south on bus). It is also possible with the bus incident that the person(s) responsible were diverted off the tube network, and therefore forced onto a long bus queue or something. If you had some clue of where these people may have originated from, then it allows you to narrow down your focus on CCTV footage from various stations etc (of which I bet there is a ton).
    I have to say, I’ve only been reading BBC on the web, Guardian newspaper (web), and watching some of the news reports. Maybe this has been dealt with better by other organisations. At least the Guardian had a precise detail about each of the four incidents.

    I’m half expecting one or two news organisations to start questioning elements of the rescue operation. But I think some of them should look a little better about how they’ve reported the details.

    What do you think about the reporting, Charles. And how has the web/RSS delivered here?


  8. Before anyone corrects me, I would have to say that
    is quite an impressive achievement really. It is a succinct report which deals with many facts AND many theories, provides lots of links to actually back them up.

    The web at its best? Can we get realtime updates or at leat RSS from Wiki articles does anyone know?


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