Monday 11 July 2005

London Terror Tip-off: Timeline Refutes Israeli Denial

Short of inviting the usual screams of anti-semitism it must be sheer coincidence that the first victim to be named has a Jewish surname... Surely that's just me being suspicious and not some deliberate effort at subliminal programming?

Jews = Victims
Arabs = Nasty Suicide Bombers

I know, I know, I'm being paraniod... At the end of the day this has nothing to do with race or religion and it has everything to do with lies and fear. Whoever set those bombs off are bastards, that's undeniable, what I want to know is who were they REALLY working for.

The new timeline that we are now being told is much closer to the truth -- that the explosions in the London terror attack were mere seconds apart -- obviously makes the analysis herein invalid.

In all the rush and emotion of Terror Thursday, I had forgotten the number one axiom for a libertarian journalist: if a government says something, we have to assume they're lying. This goes double for the government of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, which has turned "for you own good" paternalism into an excuse for a worrying authoritarianism.

Given the new sequence of events we are presented with, the Israelis' claim that Finance Minister Netanyahu received a warning after the first explosion makes sense -- that is, if their denial that they received a warning before the blasts can be believed.

In denying widespread reports that Israeli Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received a warning of the London terrorist attacks "minutes before" they occurred, Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom claims that "After the first explosion, our finance minister received a request not to go anywhere."

The problem with this explanation is that it was only after the third explosion that London police realized they were in the midst of a terrorist attack. Up until that point, authorities thought they were dealing with a series of accidents caused by a power surge, as this timeline from the Australian Herald-Sun makes clear:

8.49am (GMT): An incident on the train line between Liverpool Street and Aldgate is reported to British Transport Police.

9.15am: Media reports emergency services called to London's Liverpool Street station after an explosion.

9.24am: Police say the incident was possibly caused by a collision between two trains, a power cut or a power cable exploding. Police report "walking wounded".

9.33am: Passengers told that all underground train services are being suspended because of a power fault across the network.

9.33am: Reports of another incident at Edgware Road station.

9.40am: Police say power surge incidents have occurred on Aldgate, Edgware Road, King's Cross, Old Street and Russell Square stations.

10.02am: Scotland Yard says it is dealing with a "major incident".

10.14am: A witness says that a bus has been ripped apart in an explosion in central London.

10.21am: Scotland Yard reports "multiple explosions".

10.23am: Police confirm an explosion on a bus in Tavistock Place.

10.25am: The BBC's Andrew Marr, with Prime Minister Tony Blair in Scotland, says the PM is "still unsure" whether the explosions are a terrorist attack.

If Netanyahu was told a terrorist attack was underway after the first explosion – which everyone, including the police, thought was due to a power surge – then that’s a lot more than the victims of the subsequent explosions were told as they rode the Tube to their doom. Which means the Foreign Minister’s explanation – Netanyahu was told to stay in his hotel room after the first explosion, rather than show up at the Israeli economic conference at a hotel near Liverpool station – is entirely consistent with the claim that he was tipped off to what was really going on, while the rest of the city stumbled into disaster and, in some cases, death.

Another account draws a somewhat tighter timeline:

"Authorities said they initially thought the explosions were caused by power surges and were reluctant to activate well-practiced procedures designed to shut down the system in the event of a terrorist attack. But when the third explosion occurred at 9:17 a.m. near the Edgware Road station in west London, it was obvious that a coordinated attack was underway. Seven people were killed in that explosion.

The entire London Underground network shut down immediately afterward."

If we take the original leaker at his (or her) word, Netanyahu was told "minutes before" the first explosion. However, even if we believe Minister Shalom’s account, it still points to a weird anomaly: It took a full hour for the rest of London to find out that they were under attack, and yet Netanyahu was privy to this well before anyone else – including Prime Minister Tony Blair.

What did Netanyahu know, when did he know it, and how did he know it? Andrew Sullivan can stuff his ethno-religious special pleading: if there is any "canard" more "tired" and "hideous" than anti-Semitism it is the attempt to reduce all inquiries about Israel's behavior to bigotry. These questions deserve honest answers. Why is no one asking them?

Full story...

Israel Was Warned Ahead of First Blast