Thursday, July 07, 2005

Swirling Red Double Decks

I just watched a red, double decker tour bus pass by my office window and thought I should put down some of the thoughts swirling in my head today.

Living in Victoria, B.C., a capital city desperately holding on to its English roots, it is hard not to view the bombings in London as being somewhat closer to "home" than the attacks perpetrated in New York and Washington, D.C. The coverage on September 11th was more intense by far but the targets seemed more distant - physically and emotionally.

Nothing feels as close as commuters on their way to work.

The death of unassuming, work bound, public transit riders is shocking and horrifying in and of itself but the lack of response I see in the crowds milling around our fair city today, and that of my colleagues around the water cooler, is also unsettling. Will today be as quickly brushed aside as March 11th of last year?

Madrid remembers its own dark day
Chilling echoes of commuter trains atrocity
Giles Tremlett in Madrid, Friday July 8, 2005 The Guardian

For the people of Madrid, yesterday's London bombings were a terrible reminder of what had happened to them on March 11 2004, when 191 people were killed on commuter trains.

Atleast the Canadian media is front page reporting on today's (July 7th, 2005) bombing in London. Unlike cases in the past...

Transport systems as terror targets
By Kathryn Westcott BBC News

Public transport networks in major cities are increasingly the target for terror attacks.

At a recent Rail Industry Safety Conference held in the US, experts noted that there had been more than 181 attacks on trains and related rail targets worldwide between 1998 and 2003, in such countries as Colombia, India, Spain, Pakistan, the UK, the US, and Venezuela.

Bombs were the most frequently used weapons in these attacks.

Last year, Moscow was rocked by two such blasts - one on a packed subway train that killed at least 39 people and injured more than 100, the other outside a central Moscow subway station which killed 12 people and injured more than 100. The Russian government blamed both attacks on Chechen rebels.

I cannot remember if I ever read about the above attacks, excepting those in Moscow.

And, to conclude, a little hypocrisy from our leader to the South:

Mr. Bush, speaking outside the Gleneagles Hotel, said that the contrast between a G8 summit focused on poverty in Africa and the environment and terror attacks was "incredibly vivid."

"We have people here who are working to alleviate poverty, and to help rid the world of the pandemic of AIDS, and they are working on ways to have a clean environment. And on the other hand you've got people killing innocent people. And the contrast couldn't be clearer," Mr. Bush said.

He attacked "those who've got such evil in their hearts that they would take the lives of innocent folks."

"We will not yield to the terrorists. We will find them, we will bring them to justice, and at the same time, we will spread an ideology of hope and compassion that will overwhelm their ideology of hate." (Campbell Clark, Globe and Mail)

ps [for President Bush's writers as context for, what I expect will be, a flurry of speeches to come supporting the continuation of "efforts" in the Middle East]

Statement claiming London attacks

The BBC has located an Islamist website that has published a 200-word statement issued by an organisation saying it carried out the London bombings.

The organisation calls itself the Secret Organisation Group of al-Qaeda [literally the base] of Jihad Organisation in Europe.

The group is previously unknown.

The website has previously carried statements purporting to be from al-Qaeda. It is not possible to verify such claims published on the web.


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