Attacks, Surveillance > UK
Friday, August 11, 2006
11 August 2006
anti-terror strategy UK
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb
The United Kingdom’s Strategy
Countering International Terrorism
Tue Mar 24 2009
a new offence introduced under the
Terrorism Act 2006
attending a place used for terrorist training
Manchester Arena bombing
22 May 2017
Attempted bomb attack on Glasgow
airport in 2007 > Glasgow airport trial
Abu Qatada ordered to return to
prison December 2008
Abu Qatada: Radical preacher freed on
bail June 2008
Islamist activist > Abu Izzadeen
is sentenced / jailed
with a minimum term of seven and a half years
terrorist instructor Mohammed Hamid / 'Osama bin London'
and his followers - Muhammad al-Figari,
Kader Ahmed and Kibley Da Costa are
radical jihadi > Parviz Khan is
jailed for life 2008
extremist / radical Muslim cleric > Abu Hamza
23-year-old Samina Malik > “lyrical
global war on terrorism
UK detention / terror laws > terror
Control orders - one of the most
of the government's anti-terror legislation
anti-terror measures / anti-terrorism measures
UK security / counter-terrorism policy
Terrorism and civil liberties in
rendition > torture > Mohammed Ezzouek
Finsbury Park van attack
19 June 2017
London Bridge attacks
3 June 2017 UK / USA
100000005145903/london-attackers-what-we-know.html - June 6, 2017
Manchester Arena attack
22 May 2017
22 March 2017
chemical attack threat
terrorist attack on N
6024663/Airlines-gang-guilty.html - 7 September 2009
car bomb attacks
suicide car bomber
devastating car bomb attack
suicide bomb attack
suicide attack on N
claim 20 lives
spree of destruction
massive terrorist atrocity
be targeted / be picked out
/ be singled out
plant a bomb
immense suicide truck bomb
charred beyond recognition
tangled wreckage of burned out cars
and destroyed buildings
herself / himself up
launch a suicide attack
suicide car bomb attack on N
launch a wave of car bomb and grenade attacks
of apparently coordinated suicide attacks
in a firefight
UK / USA 10
11 August 2006
Scotland Yard statement
Al-Qaida in the UK
UK / USA
bomb detection at airports
airline liquid ban
ban on liquids
Items banned from flights
terror alerts 2010
market > travel stocks
7 July London attacks 2005
7 July bombing memorial
victims of the July 7 London bombings
The Guardian > Special Report > UK > Politics
The Treason Act of 1351
The United Kingdom Parliament > Session 2004-05
> Prevention of Terrorism Bill
Crime and security bill > full text
Full text: the law lords' ruling on
the detention of foreign terror suspects
terrorism threat to the UK
Home Office > current threat level
critical - an attack is expected imminently
severe - an attack is highly likely
substantial - an attack is a strong possibility
moderate - an attack is possible but not likely
low - an attack is unlikely
http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/security/current-threat-level/ - broken link
special power / "personal power"
persona non grata
Timeline: the hostage crisis
rogue state / nation
mass surveillance in Britain
surveillance > Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ
centre for Her Majesty's
Government's Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) activities /
British intelligence listening station
Prime Minister [ Tony Blair ]
warns of continuing
global terror threat
Friday 5 March 2004
Tony Blair archive > speeches > 2004 Speeches
10 Downing Street
[check against delivery]
No decision I have ever made in politics has been as divisive as the decision to
go to war to in Iraq. It remains deeply divisive today. I know a large part of
the public want to move on. Rightly they say the Government should concentrate
on the issues that elected us in 1997: the economy, jobs, living standards,
health, education, crime. I share that view, and we are. But I know too that the
nature of this issue over Iraq, stirring such bitter emotions as it does, can't
just be swept away as ill-fitting the pre-occupations of the man and woman on
the street. This is not simply because of the gravity of war; or the continued
engagement of British troops and civilians in Iraq; or even because of
reflections made on the integrity of the Prime Minister. It is because it was in
March 2003 and remains my fervent view that the nature of the global threat we
face in Britain and round the world is real and existential and it is the task
of leadership to expose it and fight it, whatever the political cost; and that
the true danger is not to any single politician's reputation, but to our country
if we now ignore this threat or erase it from the agenda in embarrassment at the
difficulties it causes.
In truth, the fundamental source of division over Iraq is not over issues of
trust or integrity, though some insist on trying to translate it into that. Each
week brings a fresh attempt to get a new angle that can prove it was all a
gigantic conspiracy. We have had three inquiries, including the one by Lord
Hutton conducted over six months, with more openness by Government than any such
inquiry in history, that have affirmed there was no attempt to falsify
intelligence in the dossier of September 2002, but rather that it was indeed an
accurate summary of that intelligence.
We have seen one element - intelligence about some WMD being ready for use in 45
minutes - elevated into virtually the one fact that persuaded the nation into
war. This intelligence was mentioned by me once in my statement to the House of
Commons on 24 September and not mentioned by me again in any debate. It was
mentioned by no-one in the crucial debate on 18 March 2003. In the period from
24 September to 29 May, the date of the BBC broadcast on it, it was raised twice
in almost 40,000 written Parliamentary Questions in the House of Commons; and
not once in almost 5,000 oral questions. Neither was it remotely the basis for
the claim that Saddam had strategic as well as battlefield WMD. That was dealt
with in a different part of the dossier; and though the Iraq Survey Group have
indeed not found stockpiles of weapons, they have uncovered much evidence about
Saddam's programme to develop long-range strategic missiles in breach of UN
It is said we claimed Iraq was an imminent threat to Britain and was preparing
to attack us. In fact this is what I said prior to the war on 24 September 2002:
"Why now? People ask. I agree I cannot say that this month or next, even this
year or next he will use his weapons."
Then, for example, in January 2003 in my press conference I said:
"And I tell you honestly what my fear is, my fear is that we wake up one day and
we find either that one of these dictatorial states has used weapons of mass
destruction - and Iraq has done so in the past - and we get sucked into a
conflict, with all the devastation that would cause; or alternatively these
weapons, which are being traded right round the world at the moment, fall into
the hands of these terrorist groups, these fanatics who will stop at absolutely
nothing to cause death and destruction on a mass scale. Now that is what I have
to worry about. And I understand of course why people think it is a very remote
threat and it is far away and why does it bother us. Now I simply say to you, it
is a matter of time unless we act and take a stand before terrorism and weapons
of mass destruction come together, and I regard them as two sides of the same
The truth is, as was abundantly plain in the motion before the House of Commons
on 18 March, we went to war to enforce compliance with UN Resolutions. Had we
believed Iraq was an imminent direct threat to Britain, we would have taken
action in September 2002; we would not have gone to the UN. Instead, we spent
October and November in the UN negotiating UN Resolution 1441. We then spent
almost 4 months trying to implement it.
Actually, it is now apparent from the Survey Group that Iraq was indeed in
breach of UN Resolution 1441. It did not disclose laboratories and facilities it
should have; nor the teams of scientists kept together to retain their WMD
including nuclear expertise; nor its continuing research relevant to CW and BW.
As Dr Kay, the former head of the ISG who is now quoted as a critic of the war
has said: "Iraq was in clear violation of the terms of Resolution 1441". And "I
actually think this [Iraq] may be one of those cases where it was even more
dangerous than we thought."
Then, most recently is the attempt to cast doubt on the Attorney General's legal
opinion. He said the war was lawful. He published a statement on the legal
advice. It is said this opinion is disputed. Of course it is. It was disputed in
March 2003. It is today. The lawyers continue to divide over it - with their
legal opinions bearing a remarkable similarity to their political view of the
But let's be clear. Once this row dies down, another will take its place and
then another and then another.
All of it in the end is an elaborate smokescreen to prevent us seeing the real
issue: which is not a matter of trust but of judgement.
The real point is that those who disagree with the war, disagree fundamentally
with the judgement that led to war. What is more, their alternative judgement is
both entirely rational and arguable. Kosovo, with ethnic cleansing of ethnic
Albanians, was not a hard decision for most people; nor was Afghanistan after
the shock of September 11; nor was Sierra Leone.
Iraq in March 2003 was an immensely difficult judgement. It was divisive because
it was difficult. I have never disrespected those who disagreed with the
decision. Sure, some were anti-American; some against all wars. But there was a
core of sensible people who faced with this decision would have gone the other
way, for sensible reasons. Their argument is one I understand totally. It is
that Iraq posed no direct, immediate threat to Britain; and that Iraq's WMD,
even on our own case, was not serious enough to warrant war, certainly without a
specific UN resolution mandating military action. And they argue: Saddam could,
in any event, be contained.
In other words, they disagreed then and disagree now fundamentally with the
characterisation of the threat. We were saying this is urgent; we have to act;
the opponents of war thought it wasn't. And I accept, incidentally, that however
abhorrent and foul the regime and however relevant that was for the reasons I
set out before the war, for example in Glasgow in February 2003, regime change
alone could not be and was not our justification for war. Our primary purpose
was to enforce UN resolutions over Iraq and WMD.
Of course the opponents are boosted by the fact that though we know Saddam had
WMD; we haven't found the physical evidence of them in the 11 months since the
war. But in fact, everyone thought he had them. That was the basis of UN
It's just worth pointing out that the search is being conducted in a country
twice the land mass of the UK, which David Kay's interim report in October 2003
noted, contains 130 ammunition storage areas, some covering an area of 50 square
miles, including some 600,000 tons of artillery shells, rockets and other
ordnance, of which only a small proportion have as yet been searched in the
difficult security environment that exists.
But the key point is that it is the threat that is the issue.
The characterisation of the threat is where the difference lies. Here is where I
feel so passionately that we are in mortal danger of mistaking the nature of the
new world in which we live. Everything about our world is changing: its economy,
its technology, its culture, its way of living. If the 20th century scripted our
conventional way of thinking, the 21st century is unconventional in almost every
This is true also of our security.
The threat we face is not conventional. It is a challenge of a different nature
from anything the world has faced before. It is to the world's security, what
globalisation is to the world's economy.
It was defined not by Iraq but by September 11th. September 11th did not create
the threat Saddam posed. But it altered crucially the balance of risk as to
whether to deal with it or simply carry on, however imperfectly, trying to
Let me attempt an explanation of how my own thinking, as a political leader, has
evolved during these past few years. Already, before September 11th the world's
view of the justification of military action had been changing. The only clear
case in international relations for armed intervention had been self-defence,
response to aggression. But the notion of intervening on humanitarian grounds
had been gaining currency. I set this out, following the Kosovo war, in a speech
in Chicago in 1999, where I called for a doctrine of international community,
where in certain clear circumstances, we do intervene, even though we are not
directly threatened. I said this was not just to correct injustice, but also
because in an increasingly inter-dependent world, our self-interest was allied
to the interests of others; and seldom did conflict in one region of the world
not contaminate another. We acted in Sierra Leone for similar reasons, though
frankly even if that country had become run by gangsters and murderers and its
democracy crushed, it would have been a long time before it impacted on us. But
we were able to act to help them and we did.
So, for me, before September 11th, I was already reaching for a different
philosophy in international relations from a traditional one that has held sway
since the treaty of Westphalia in 1648; namely that a country's internal affairs
are for it and you don't interfere unless it threatens you, or breaches a
treaty, or triggers an obligation of alliance. I did not consider Iraq fitted
into this philosophy, though I could see the horrible injustice done to its
people by Saddam.
However, I had started to become concerned about two other phenomena.
The first was the increasing amount of information about Islamic extremism and
terrorism that was crossing my desk. Chechnya was blighted by it. So was
Kashmir. Afghanistan was its training ground. Some 300 people had been killed in
the attacks on the USS Cole and US embassies in East Africa. The extremism
seemed remarkably well financed. It was very active. And it was driven not by a
set of negotiable political demands, but by religious fanaticism.
The second was the attempts by states - some of them highly unstable and
repressive - to develop nuclear weapons programmes, CW and BW materiel, and
long-range missiles. What is more, it was obvious that there was a considerable
network of individuals and companies with expertise in this area, prepared to
All this was before September 11th. I discussed the issue of WMD with President
Bush at our first meeting in Camp David in February 2001. But it's in the nature
of things that other issues intervene - I was about to fight for re-election -
and though it was raised, it was a troubling spectre in the background, not
something to arrest our whole attention.
President Bush told me that on September 9th 2001, he had a meeting about Iraq
in the White House when he discussed "smart" sanctions, changes to the sanctions
regime. There was no talk of military action.
September 11th was for me a revelation. What had seemed inchoate came together.
The point about September 11th was not its detailed planning; not its devilish
execution; not even, simply, that it happened in America, on the streets of New
York. All of this made it an astonishing, terrible and wicked tragedy, a
barbaric murder of innocent people. But what galvanised me was that it was a
declaration of war by religious fanatics who were prepared to wage that war
without limit. They killed 3000. But if they could have killed 30,000 or 300,000
they would have rejoiced in it. The purpose was to cause such hatred between
Moslems and the West that a religious jihad became reality; and the world
engulfed by it.
When I spoke to the House of Commons on 14 September 2001 I said:
"We know, that they [the terrorists] would, if they could, go further and use
chemical, biological, or even nuclear weapons of mass destruction. We know,
also, that there are groups of people, occasionally states, who will trade the
technology and capability of such weapons. It is time that this trade was
exposed, disrupted, and stamped out. We have been warned by the events of 11
September, and we should act on the warning."
From September 11th on, I could see the threat plainly. Here were terrorists
prepared to bring about Armageddon. Here were states whose leadership cared for
no-one but themselves; were often cruel and tyrannical towards their own people;
and who saw WMD as a means of defending themselves against any attempt external
or internal to remove them and who, in their chaotic and corrupt state, were in
any event porous and irresponsible with neither the will nor capability to
prevent terrorists who also hated the West, from exploiting their chaos and
I became aware of the activities of A Q Khan, former Pakistani nuclear scientist
and of an organisation developing nuclear weapons technology to sell secretly to
states wanting to acquire it. I started to hear of plants to manufacture nuclear
weapons equipment in Malaysia, in the Near East and Africa, companies in the
Gulf and Europe to finance it; training and know-how provided - all without any
or much international action to stop it. It was a murky, dangerous trade, done
with much sophistication and it was rapidly shortening the timeframe of
countries like North Korea and Iran in acquiring serviceable nuclear weapons
I asked for more intelligence on the issue not just of terrorism but also of
WMD. The scale of it became clear. It didn't matter that the Islamic extremists
often hated some of these regimes. Their mutual enmity toward the West would in
the end triumph over any scruples of that nature, as we see graphically in Iraq
We knew that Al Qaida sought the capability to use WMD in their attacks. Bin
Laden has called it a "duty" to obtain nuclear weapons. His networks have
experimented with chemicals and toxins for use in attacks. He received advice
from at least two Pakistani scientists on the design of nuclear weapons. In
Afghanistan Al Qaida trained its recruits in the use of poisons and chemicals.
An Al Qaida terrorist ran a training camp developing these techniques. Terrorist
training manuals giving step-by-step instructions for the manufacture of deadly
substances such as botulinum and ricin were widely distributed in Afghanistan
and elsewhere and via the internet. Terrorists in Russia have actually deployed
radiological material. The sarin attack on the Tokyo Metro showed how serious an
impact even a relatively small attack can have.
The global threat to our security was clear. So was our duty: to act to
First we dealt with Al Qaida in Afghanistan, removing the Taliban that succoured
But then we had to confront the states with WMD. We had to take a stand. We had
to force conformity with international obligations that for years had been
breached with the world turning a blind eye. For 12 years Saddam had defied
calls to disarm. In 1998, he had effectively driven out the UN inspectors and we
had bombed his military infrastructure; but we had only weakened him, not
removed the threat. Saddam alone had used CW against Iran and against his own
We had had an international coalition blessed by the UN in Afghanistan. I wanted
the same now. President Bush agreed to go the UN route. We secured UN Resolution
1441. Saddam had one final chance to comply fully. Compliance had to start with
a full and honest declaration of WMD programmes and activities.
The truth is disarming a country, other than with its consent, is a perilous
exercise. On 8 December 2002, Saddam sent his declaration. It was obviously
false. The UN inspectors were in Iraq but progress was slow and the vital
cooperation of Iraqi scientists withheld. In March we went back to the UN to
make a final ultimatum. We strove hard for agreement. We very nearly achieved
So we came to the point of decision. Prime Ministers don't have the luxury of
maintaining both sides of the argument. They can see both sides. But,
ultimately, leadership is about deciding. My view was and is that if the UN had
come together and delivered a tough ultimatum to Saddam, listing clearly what he
had to do, benchmarking it, he may have folded and events set in train that
might just and eventually have led to his departure from power.
But the Security Council didn't agree.
Suppose at that point we had backed away. Inspectors would have stayed but only
the utterly naïve would believe that following such a public climbdown by the US
and its partners, Saddam would have cooperated more. He would have strung the
inspectors out and returned emboldened to his plans. The will to act on the
issue of rogue states and WMD would have been shown to be hollow. The
terrorists, watching and analysing every move in our psychology as they do,
would have taken heart. All this without counting the fact that the appalling
brutalisation of the Iraqi people would have continued unabated and reinforced.
Here is the crux. It is possible that even with all of this, nothing would have
happened. Possible that Saddam would change his ambitions; possible he would
develop the WMD but never use it; possible that the terrorists would never get
their hands on WMD, whether from Iraq or elsewhere. We cannot be certain.
Perhaps we would have found different ways of reducing it. Perhaps this Islamic
terrorism would ebb of its own accord.
But do we want to take the risk? That is the judgement. And my judgement then
and now is that the risk of this new global terrorism and its interaction with
states or organisations or individuals proliferating WMD, is one I simply am not
prepared to run.
This is not a time to err on the side of caution; not a time to weigh the risks
to an infinite balance; not a time for the cynicism of the worldly wise who
favour playing it long. Their worldly wise cynicism is actually at best naivete
and at worst dereliction. When they talk, as they do now, of diplomacy coming
back into fashion in respect of Iran or North Korea or Libya, do they seriously
think that diplomacy alone has brought about this change? Since the war in Iraq,
Libya has taken the courageous step of owning up not just to a nuclear weapons
programme but to having chemical weapons, which are now being destroyed. Iran is
back in the reach of the IAEA. North Korea in talks with China over its WMD. The
A Q Khan network is being shut down, its trade slowly but surely being
Yet it is monstrously premature to think the threat has passed. The risk remains
in the balance here and abroad.
These days decisions about it come thick and fast, and while they are not always
of the same magnitude they are hardly trivial. Let me give you an example. A
short while ago, during the war, we received specific intelligence warning of a
major attack on Heathrow. To this day, we don't know if it was correct and we
foiled it or if it was wrong. But we received the intelligence. We immediately
heightened the police presence. At the time it was much criticised as political
hype or an attempt to frighten the public. Actually at each stage we followed
rigidly the advice of the police and Security Service. But sit in my seat. Here
is the intelligence. Here is the advice. Do you ignore it? But, of course
intelligence is precisely that: intelligence. It is not hard fact. It has its
limitations. On each occasion the most careful judgement has to be made taking
account of everything we know and the best assessment and advice available. But
in making that judgement, would you prefer us to act, even if it turns out to be
wrong? Or not to act and hope it's OK? And suppose we don't act and the
intelligence turns out to be right, how forgiving will people be?
And to those who think that these things are all disconnected, random acts,
disparate threats with no common thread to bind them, look at what is happening
in Iraq today. The terrorists pouring into Iraq, know full well the importance
of destroying not just the nascent progress of Iraq toward stability, prosperity
and democracy, but of destroying our confidence, of defeating our will to
I have no doubt Iraq is better without Saddam; but no doubt either, that as a
result of his removal, the dangers of the threat we face will be diminished.
That is not to say the terrorists won't redouble their efforts. They will. This
war is not ended. It may only be at the end of its first phase. They are in
Iraq, murdering innocent Iraqis who want to worship or join a police force that
upholds the law not a brutal dictatorship; they carry on killing in Afghanistan.
They do it for a reason. The terrorists know that if Iraq and Afghanistan
survive their assault, come through their travails, seize the opportunity the
future offers, then those countries will stand not just as nations liberated
from oppression, but as a lesson to humankind everywhere and a profound antidote
to the poison of religious extremism. That is precisely why the terrorists are
trying to foment hatred and division in Iraq. They know full well, a stable
democratic Iraq, under the sovereign rule of the Iraqi people, is a mortal blow
to their fanaticism.
That is why our duty is to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan as stable and democratic
Here is the irony. For all the fighting, this threat cannot be defeated by
security means alone. Taking strong action is a necessary but insufficient
condition for defeating. Its final defeat is only assured by the triumph of the
values of the human spirit.
Which brings me to the final point. It may well be that under international law
as presently constituted, a regime can systematically brutalise and oppress its
people and there is nothing anyone can do, when dialogue, diplomacy and even
sanctions fail, unless it comes within the definition of a humanitarian
catastrophe (though the 300,000 remains in mass graves already found in Iraq
might be thought by some to be something of a catastrophe). This may be the law,
but should it be?
We know now, if we didn't before, that our own self interest is ultimately bound
up with the fate of other nations. The doctrine of international community is no
longer a vision of idealism. It is a practical recognition that just as within a
country, citizens who are free, well educated and prosperous tend to be
responsible, to feel solidarity with a society in which they have a stake; so do
nations that are free, democratic and benefiting from economic progress, tend to
be stable and solid partners in the advance of humankind. The best defence of
our security lies in the spread of our values.
But we cannot advance these values except within a framework that recognises
their universality. If it is a global threat, it needs a global response, based
on global rules.
The essence of a community is common rights and responsibilities. We have
obligations in relation to each other. If we are threatened, we have a right to
act. And we do not accept in a community that others have a right to oppress and
brutalise their people. We value the freedom and dignity of the human race and
each individual in it.
Containment will not work in the face of the global threat that confronts us.
The terrorists have no intention of being contained. The states that proliferate
or acquire WMD illegally are doing so precisely to avoid containment.
Emphatically I am not saying that every situation leads to military action. But
we surely have a duty and a right to prevent the threat materialising; and we
surely have a responsibility to act when a nation's people are subjected to a
regime such as Saddam's. Otherwise, we are powerless to fight the aggression and
injustice which over time puts at risk our security and way of life.
Which brings us to how you make the rules and how you decide what is right or
wrong in enforcing them. The UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights is a fine
document. But it is strange the United Nations is so reluctant to enforce them.
I understand the worry the international community has over Iraq. It worries
that the US and its allies will by sheer force of their military might, do
whatever they want, unilaterally and without recourse to any rule-based code or
doctrine. But our worry is that if the UN - because of a political disagreement
in its Councils - is paralysed, then a threat we believe is real will go
This dilemma is at the heart of many people's anguished indecision over the
wisdom of our action in Iraq. It explains the confusion of normal politics that
has part of the right liberating a people from oppression and a part of the left
disdaining the action that led to it. It is partly why the conspiracy theories
or claims of deceit have such purchase. How much simpler to debate those than to
analyse and resolve the conundrum of our world's present state.
Britain's role is try to find a way through this: to construct a consensus
behind a broad agenda of justice and security and means of enforcing it.
This agenda must be robust in tackling the security threat that this Islamic
extremism poses; and fair to all peoples by promoting their human rights,
wherever they are. It means tackling poverty in Africa and justice in Palestine
as well as being utterly resolute in opposition to terrorism as a way of
achieving political goals. It means an entirely different, more just and more
modern view of self-interest.
It means reforming the United Nations so its Security Council represents 21st
century reality; and giving the UN the capability to act effectively as well as
debate. It means getting the UN to understand that faced with the threats we
have, we should do all we can to spread the values of freedom, democracy, the
rule of law, religious tolerance and justice for the oppressed, however painful
for some nations that may be; but that at the same time, we wage war
relentlessly on those who would exploit racial and religious division to bring
catastrophe to the world.
But in the meantime, the threat is there and demands our attention.
That is the struggle which engages us. It is a new type of war. It will rest on
intelligence to a greater degree than ever before. It demands a difference
attitude to our own interests. It forces us to act even when so many comforts
seem unaffected, and the threat so far off, if not illusory. In the end, believe
your political leaders or not, as you will. But do so, at least having
understood their minds.
Prime Minister [ Tony
Blair ] warns of continuing global terror threat,
10 Downing Street,
On This Day: February 19, 1969
From The Times archive
[ Erreur de date du Times
l'attentat d'Aldwych a été perpétré le 18 février 1996
- l'article date donc de
spite of pessimistic first reports, Edward O’Brien was the only person to die in
the Aldwych bus bombing — blown up and killed by his own device
people were feared dead and eight were injured last night when a bomb ripped
without warning through a double-decker bus in central London.
The front half of the old- fashioned Routemaster bus was destroyed by the blast
on the Aldwych near the Strand. Bodies were seen lying on the road and there was
chaos as people ran from restaurants and public houses in Covent Garden near by.
Police, ten ambulances and four paramedic units went to the scene and took the
dead and injured from the 171 bus to two hospitals. As helicopters hovered
overhead, police on the ground used loudspeakers to warn people to move away or
remain in hotels and restaurants. A large area was cordoned off and police
warned drivers to expect traffic chaos this morning.
The bombing was the third attack on the capital in the nine days since the IRA
announced the end of its 17-month ceasefire. Two people were killed and many
injured in an attack at South Quay on the Isle of Dogs on February 9 and last
Thursday an 11lb Semtex bomb was found in a phone box in Charing Cross Road and
No claim of responsibility was made, but one theory was that the bomb exploded
as a terrorist was travelling to plant it at another destination in London.
The bombing came on the eve of a Commons debate on emergency powers in Northern
Ireland, which had been expected to be renewed for two years instead of five. It
also came hours after Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein president, offered John Major
“the hand of friendship” although his remarks were coupled with a warning that
the Government would face a “united republican struggle” for talks.
The Prime Minister, whose hopes for a summit with the Irish Prime Minister next
week had faded in the aftermath of the earlier London attacks, was being kept
informed of events but Downing Street made no immediate comment.
The explosion on the New Cross to King’s Cross bus at 10.38pm could be heard
five miles away and witnesses described devastation at the scene. Anthony Yates
said: “I was walking down the road and I saw a big white flash in the sky. I
looked and then I saw a double-decker bus but there was nothing left of it, it
was completely blown to pieces. There were three people at least dead.”
On this day, February 19, 2005, The Times,
On This Day
- June 11, 1986
From The Times archive
Patrick Magee was freed in 1999
as part of the Good Friday agreement’s
early release scheme.
He had served 14
for bombing the Grand Hotel, Brighton,
during the Conservative Party
PATRICK MAGEE was yesterday found
guilty of planting the Provisional IRA bomb at the Grand Hotel, Brighton, in
1984 and killing five people attending the Conservative Party annual conference.
At the Central Criminal Court Magee, aged 35, from Belfast, was convicted of
planting the bomb in September 1984, causing the explosion the next month, and
murdering five people. He was found guilty on seven counts after a jury of six
men and six women had deliberated for five and a quarter hours at the end of a
After hearing the verdicts, Magee looked up to the public gallery and winked.
Bearded and wearing a brown leather jacket, Magee half-turned his back to the
judge and called “good luck” up to the gallery before being taken down.
Magee will be sentenced once the jury has finished deciding other verdicts.
Magee was found guilty of placing a timed explosive device in room 629 of the
Grand Hotel between September 14 and 19, 1984. He was found guilty of causing
the explosion on October 12, 1984, when the bomb went off at 2.54am on the night
before the last day of the conference.
At the time of the explosion, the Prime Minister and senior members of the
Government were staying in the hotel. As well as the five people killed, 34
others were injured.
At the beginning of the trial in May the court was told by Mr Roy Amlot,
prosecuting, that the bomb at the Grand Hotel came “within an inch of being the
Provisional IRA’s most devastating explosion”.
Magee placed a timed device in the bathroom of room 629 in the month before the
party conference. He used a false name and address to book into the hotel over a
weekend, paid cash and may have been joined by another person.
After the bomb exploded the registration card for room 629 was examined by a
Scotland Yard fingerprint expert who found a palm print and fingertip print,
which he told the court matched fingerprints belonging to Magee.
From The Times Archive > On This Day - June 11, 1986, The Times,
November 28, 1975
Enemy of IRA bombers
killed outside home
From the Guardian archive
Friday November 28, 1975
and Martin Walker
Mr Ross McWhirter, the television
broadcaster and co-editor of the Guinness Book of Records, was shot dead at his
London home last night, three weeks after he had launched a £50,000
He was hit in the head and stomach
when he answered the door at his home in Enfield, north London.
He was taken to Chase Farm hospital, nearby, where he later died. There was
strong speculation that the shooting was the work of the IRA, and yet another
escalation of their present terrorist campaign.
Mr McWhirter lived in a house standing in its own grounds. When [he] opened his
front door, it was to greet his wife, who had just arrived by car. The gunmen
had apparently been hiding in bushes in the garden. Last night his wife was
staying locally with friends. Their two sons, Ian and Jamie, were at school at
Mr McWhirter was best known for co-editing the Guinness Book of Records with his
identical twin, Norris. The publication has grown to become one of the most
successful books ever published. However, he had recently gained publicity with
his plans to combat terrorism. His organisation Self-Help offered a reward of
between £20,000 and £50,000 for information leading to the conviction of
terrorist bombers in Britain.
In October, Mr John Nundy, licensee of the Bay Horse Hotel, Winteringham, near
Scunthorpe, won a High Court injunction with financial help from Mr McWhirter,
to free his vehicle from the Eagle car ferry, which was held up by a labour
dispute at Southampton.
Mr Nundy said last night: "I am deeply sorry. He was very much a people's man.
He was in favour of justice and fairness for ordinary people."
MPs immediately condemned what Tory MP Mr John Stokes said was the first killing
in England which had followed the examples of scores of murders in Northern
Mr Eldon Griffiths, Conservative MP for Bury St Edmunds, said: "There is no way
of dealing with this kind of obscenity without a return to the capital
Three weeks ago, launching his Beat-the-Bombers campaign, Mr McWhirter said a
man had to live by his beliefs, and he was prepared to back them with action.
"We are gradually wallowing into a situation of terror and violence, and not
enough is being done to stop it." This was one of eight killings for which the
so-called Balcombe Street gang of IRA terrorists received jail terms in 1977.
From the Guardian
archive > November 28, 1975 >
Enemy of IRA bombers killed outside home, G,
November 22, 1974
Pub blasts kill 17 in Birmingham
From the Guardian archive
Friday November 22, 1974
At least 17 people were killed and
more than 120 were injured last night after bombs exploded almost simultaneously
in two crowded public houses in the heart of Birmingham.
No warnings seemed to have been
given for any of the explosions, which brought the highest death toll in England
for an IRA bomb attack.
Emergency services were called in from all districts surrounding the city as
customers in the public houses, most of them young people, lay dead and dying.
Those who survived the initial blasts - at the Tavern in the Town cellar bar and
the Mulberry Bush - faced the horror of walls and ceilings falling on to the
places where they lay trapped. Firemen tore at the rubble of the buildings with
The bombs came at 8.30pm as hundreds of police who might normally have been on
duty in the city centre were waiting at Birmingham Airport nine miles away for
the [plane] carrying the body of James McDade, the IRA bomber killed by his own
bomb in Coventry, to take off for Belfast.
Patrol cars sped to seal off motorways and main roads out of the Midlands and
railways police boarded trains arriving at Euston. In the Commons MPs spoke of
"extreme feelings of revulsion being experienced in the city".
From Gareth Parry in Birmingham.
For those who survived the initial blasts, there was danger of being crushed to
death by debris falling on to the places where they were trapped.
The streets outside the two public houses in New Street and in the Rotunda were
littered with dead bodies and dismembered limbs which lay for nearly half an
hour after the first explosion. Police and ambulance men were concentrating
efforts in rescuing the trapped.
A woman aged about 20 said: "I had come into the Tavern a few minutes before it
happened. I went over to the bar with my girlfriend, and was just about to buy a
drink when there was a bang and everything started falling upon us.
"I flicked on my lighter and saw my friend next to me had lost her foot. I
thought I was also dead and that my spirit was just carrying on, for everywhere
I looked there was murder."
Rescue workers in the Tavern called for steel props to hold up the roof of the
basement pub. A senior brigade officer said: "We cannot go near the injured for
fear of bringing the building on top of them."
Film of the bombings shown on the BBC showed two or three men running from the
scene of one of the explosions and down steps to a waiting car.
From the Guardian
archive > November 22, 1974 >
Pub blasts kill 17 in Birmingham, G,
Day - September 9, 1947
From The Times archive
French police prevented Zionist
from executing a plan to drop leaflets and bombs
FURTHER details are published to-day
of those arrested in connexion with the Zionist plot to drop leaflets and, it
seems, bombs on London.
James Martinsky aroused the
suspicions of the police some months ago, and in May a search was made of his
hotel room. Arms, gelignite, and leaflets were found. At the same time an arms
depot with which he was connected was found at Nanterre, in the Western
outskirts of Paris.
News that the police had found a
number of bombs is not confirmed, but plans have been discovered for the making
of bombs from fire extinguishers.
Your Correspondent was shown to-day one of the tracts which were to have been
dropped on London. It is a sheet of white paper, 11 in by 8 in., with the text
printed in variegated lettering. Part of the text reads:- To the people of
England! To the people whose Government proclaimed “Peace in our Time”. This is
a warning! Your Government has dipped his Majesty’s crown in Jewish blood and
polished it with Arab oil: “Out damned spot — out I say!” Your Government has
violated every article of the Eretz-Israel mandate, flouted international law
and invaded our country. We will strike with all the bitterness and fury of our
servitude and bondage.
We are prepared to fight a war of liberation now to avoid a war of enslavement
tomorrow. People of England! Press your Government to quit Eretz- Israel now!
Demand that your sons and daughters return home or you may not see them again.
From The Times archive,
On This Day - September 9, 1947,
October 12, 1921
From the Guardian archive
Don't be too tragic about Ireland
Wednesday October 12, 1921
The Anglo-Irish Conference duly met
at Downing Street yesterday. We purposely express the fact in terms of
nationality, because that is the point of view from which it can most usefully
and truthfully be regarded.
But when people - Mr. De Valera is,
we fear, one of them - talk about Englishmen being "foreigners" and about
England as a foreign nation, politeness alone prevents us from telling them that
in our opinion they talk nonsense. Irishmen are not and never will be
Englishmen; even the Ulster and Orange brand is at bottom much more Irish than
it is English. But on the other hand a bond, even an unwilling bond, and a
continuous connection and inter-mixture going right back through the centuries
to a point not so very far removed from the Norman Conquest of this island
(which unfortunately was never completely extended to the outlying island) does
not count for nothing.
Neither does the fact that Irishmen have played a great part in English history
and literature, that we find ourselves very much at home in their land, and that
they have made themselves very much at home in ours. Therefore we positively
decline to recognise anything essentially foreign, and not even should they
insist on addressing Mr. Lloyd George in the Irish language (which to some of
them may sound less familiar than to that brother Celt) and calling in the
service of an interpreter will they persuade us to regard them as unqualified
They come as representatives of a nation to present a national case. No doubt
during the negotiations there may be a pretty heavy tug-of-war. But that is no
reason for taking the matter too tragically.
The fundamental fact is that both peoples want to be friends, and friends in the
end they will be.
Mr. Churchill has signalised himself quite recently by foolish talk about the
"real war" that is to follow should the present negotiations fail, in contrast
to the "mere bushranging" represented by the glorious achievements of our
Black-and-Tans. [The Royal Irish Constabulary Reserve Force of 7,000
ex-soldiers, a byword for brutality.]
But Mr. Churchill, who is a realist as well an orator, knows quite well that
nothing of the kind is going to happen, just because, whatever his own warlike
aspirations may be - and he has given abundant and at times disastrous proof of
them - they are not shared by the British people.
[The people] will not tolerate the renewal of the brutalities from which the
truce has relieved us and cannot be lashed into any frenzy of hate or terror.
From the Guardian archive,
October 12, 1921,
Don't be too
tragic about Ireland,
Related > Anglonautes >
terrorism, global terrorism, militant groups,