Explosive Device found in London today… differing media reports

June 29, 2007

Explosive Device Found in London, Police Say

LONDON, June 29 — British police said they discovered an explosive device in a car filled with gasoline, nails, and gas canisters in the West End theater and entertainment district of central London early today and began a terrorism investigation.

The police said the car, a silver-green Mercedes, had been found abandoned outside a nightclub and a search was now underway for the driver of the car.

Peter Clarke, Britain’s most senior counterterrorism police officer, said that if the explosives had detonated “there could have been significant injury or loss of life” because the car was parked in a busy part of London where “many, many people were winding up a night out in clubs and elsewhere.”

Amid a high state of alert in the capital, police later closed off Park Lane, a busy main road also in central London, after being alerted to a suspicious vehicle in the area, and they were inspecting the vehicle. Television footage showed intense police activity near an underground parking lot on Park Lane, and people walking in nearby Hyde Park were being urged by police to leave the park. The closure of Park Lane was causing serious traffic gridlock in central London.

At a news conference after the first incident, Mr. Clarke said the authorities had no prior intelligence information indicating that any attack had been planned. And, he said “we are keeping an entirely open mind” about the likely identity of suspects.

The car was made safe, the police said. Parts of central London were still cordoned off after the incident, which took place near the landmark Piccadilly Circus area.

The police were alerted early this morning after an ambulance crew, called to the Tiger Tiger nightclub in the Haymarket, near Piccadilly Circus, because someone had fallen ill there, noticed what they thought was smoke inside the car, Mr. Clarke said.

Britain’s newly-installed prime minister, Gordon Brown, in power for only two days, urged citizens to be vigilant, particularly “over the next few days.” He also ordered a meeting of the so-called Cobra group — which stands for Cabinet Office Briefing Room A — of high-level officials to assess the severity of the incident.

“As the police and security services have said on so many occasions, we face a serious and continuous threat to our country,” Mr. Brown said. “But this incident does recall the need for us to be vigilant at all times and the public to be alert at any potential incidents.”

“I will stress to the Cabinet that the vigilance must be maintained over the next few days,” he said.

News of the incident broke this morning as many Britons were at their breakfast tables, after a police spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said explosives experts had examined the car and discovered a “potentially viable explosive device.”

British news organizations quoted witnesses as saying police officers had been seen removing what appeared to be propane gas cylinders and a large number of nails from the car.

Sky News quoted an eyewitness as saying the car had been driven erratically before it collided with garbage bins, and the driver ran off. Mr. Clarke, the counterterrorism chief, indicated at a news conference, however, that he could not confirm this version of events. He said the investigation was continuing and that police were examining CCTV video footage from cameras around the area.

The car was abandoned close to the Tiger Tiger nightspot, and police said a detonation device in the car was defused manually. The car was later loaded onto a truck and taken away for forensic scrutiny by the police.

The apparent use of gas cylinders recalled a terror plot allegedly thwarted in 2004 when Dhiren Barot, a British Muslim, was said to have been planning to use limousines packed with gas cylinders to blow up buildings. The incident also recalled another conspiracy in which terrorists were said to have planned to attack a night-club.

The discovery today was made one day after Mr. Brown formed his first government and it comes close to the second anniversary of the July 7 bombings of 2005 when four suicide bombers killed 52 people in attacks on three subway trains and a bus in London.

The incident therefore represented a first challenge to Mr. Brown in the handling of apparent terrorism cases after a decade in government overseeing the nation’s finances as Chancellor of the Exchequer. He took over from the former prime minister, Tony Blair, two days ago.

Mr. Clarke, the counterterrorism officer, would not say whether the incident was linked to either the formation of Mr. Brown’s new government or the July 7 anniversary.

“Police were called to reports of a suspicious vehicle parked in the Haymarket, shortly before 2 a.m. this morning,” a police statement said. Haymarket is part of the area of bars, shops and theaters that draws in tens of thousands of visitors and revelers.

“As a precautionary measure the immediate area was cordoned off while the vehicle was examined by explosives officers,” the police statement said.

The counterterrorism command, headed by Mr. Clarke, is the police unit that has dealt with several major investigations into alleged jihadist conspiracies that have proliferated in this country since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.

In those investigations, suspected terrorists have been accused by the police of planning to use a variety of weapons including the poison ricin, fertilizer bombs, and liquid explosives to attack an array of targets like a shopping mall, a nightclub and trans-Atlantic airplanes.

Jack Straw, who was appointed justice minister in Mr. Brown’s new government, said government members had been told about the incident several hours before the police statement, which was made public as the morning rush hour got under way.

There was no immediate change in the level of threat perceived by the British authorities. According to the Web site of MI5, the British domestic security service, the current level stands at severe, meaning an attack is “highly likely”, unchanged since August 2006.

Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, a former head of MI5, said last year that the British authorities were monitoring 1,600 people in 200 suspected terror cells.

Mike Nizza and Graham Bowley contributed reporting from New York

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/29/world/europe/29cnd-london.html?hp

****

British MI5 Had Hand In Previous Car Bombings
Security services played role in similar previous attacks, massive car bomb discovered in London

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet
Friday, June 29, 2007

reddit_url=’http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/june2007/290607carbombings.htm’ reddit_title=’British MI5 Had Hand In Previous Car Bombings’

digg_title = ‘British MI5 Had Hand In Previous Car Bombings’; digg_bodytext = ‘Intelligence sources are refusing to rule out an Irish connection to a massive car bomb that was discovered in the heart of London this morning. Though at this early stage the facts are sketchy, any link to the IRA or its offshoots would re-open a can of worms concerning the MI5s role in past terror attacks, and specifically car bombings, over the last few decades in Britain and Northern Ireland.’;

Intelligence sources are refusing to rule out an Irish connection to a massive car bomb that was discovered in the heart of London this morning. Though at this early stage the facts are sketchy, any link to the IRA or its offshoots would re-open a can of worms concerning the MI5’s role in past terror attacks, and specifically car bombings, over the last few decades in Britain and Northern Ireland.

The timing of the attempted attack coincides with new Prime Minister Gordon Brown taking over from Tony Blair just yesterday.

 

“The threat of terror returned to London today after a large car bomb was found in the heart of the capital,” reports the Daily Mail.

“Bomb squad officers defused the ‘massive’ device after police investigated reports of a suspicious vehicle in the early hours.”

 

“According to an eyewitness the door staff at the nightclub Tiger, Tiger alerted police after the car, believed to be a silver Mercedes, was driven into bins last night and the driver ran off.”

“The witness said the car was being driven ‘erratically’ before the minor crash. The driver was not stopped.”

In any criminal investigation and in particular terrorism inquiry, it is paramount to look at who has the motive and history to carry out such an attack.

It is important to stress that not every terror attack is necessarily part of some elaborate scheme or conspiracy – indeed it is usually small scale incidents such as this that are the work of lone extremists or Islamic fundamentalists who hate the west, of which Britain is inundated with.

But as the facts emerge we would be foolish to overlook the fact that the British security services were intimately involved in numerous terror attacks in Britain over the past few decades, namely car bombings, that were blamed on the IRA or its offshoots. This is particularly relevant considering that officials have refused to rule out an Irish connection in this case.


The sliver car was left outside the Tiger Tiger nightclub on Haymarket. A gas canister can be seen in the bottom left-hand corner of this picture.

Every major IRA bombing in England and Northern Ireland has had the fingerprints of the British government and the FRU all over it.

Starting from at least the 1980’s, SAS and British military intelligence agents were routinely ordered to embed themselves within violent branches of the IRA and aid terrorists in carrying out attacks. How do we know this happened? Because one of the individuals who was ordered to do so, Kevin Fulton, blew the whistle on the fact that he was told he had the Prime Minister’s blessing to aid terrorists in bomb making and political assassinations.

In addition, mirroring the backdrop of the infiltration of the alleged liquid bomb plot, the August 15th 1998 Omagh bombing was allowed to proceed despite the fact that MI5 had fully infiltrated the Real IRA terror cell, knew the date of the bombing, and had tracked the terrorists’ vehicle as it was driven to the bomb site. Again, in this case MI5 had one of their own agents within the bomb squad itself. In this instance, the car bombing went forward and 29 people, including two babies and nine children, were ripped apart as they shopped in a quiet market street.

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Documents, lodged as part of a court action being taken against the British government by a disgruntled military intelligence agent, also revealed that an FRU (Force Research Unit) major was the officer who was the handler of the British army’s most infamous agent inside the IRA — a man code named Stakeknife.

Stakeknife is one of Belfast’s leading Provisionals. His military handlers allowed him to carry out large numbers of terrorist murders in order to protect his cover within the IRA.

The London Observer further revealed some of the methods employed by the FRU in Northern Ireland, including the “human bomb” technique, which involved “forcing civilians to drive vehicles laden with explosives into army checkpoints”.

Former MI5 counter-terrorism officer David Shayler also saw documents indicating that the Israeli’s bombed their own embassy in London in 1994 after a car bomb exploded outside the building in Kensington.

He also presented evidence that MI5 had foreknowledge of the 1993 Bishopsgate car bombing that was blamed on the IRA, and could have apprehended the bomb squad but let the attack go ahead.

To forget the proven history of the security service’s involvement in car bombings and other terror attacks in Britain and Northern Ireland in light of this latest incident would be very naive, and as more information about the culprits behind this morning’s attempted attack is released, that history is likely to become more prescient.

http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/june2007/290607carbombings.htm

*****

‘Car bomb’ defused in London

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A large area near Piccadilly Circus was sealed off hours after the “explosive device” was found [AFP]
 
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Witnesses said the occupant fled the scene after car was driven “erratically” before smashing into some bins.

 

Counter-terrorism police have launched an investigation after explosives officers were called to the scene shortly before 1.30am [0030GMT], police said.

 
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‘International terrorism’

Officers were called to the Haymarket area, after an ambulance crew responding to a call about an injury at a nearby nightclub noticed smoke coming from a car parked in front of the club.

A bomb squad was called to the scene and disabled the bomb.

“We are currently facing the most serious and sustained threat to our security from international terrorism”

Jacqui Smith,
British interior minister

Early photographs of the silver Mercedes showed a canister bearing the words “patio gas” indicating it was propane gas, next to the car. The back door was open with blankets spilling out.

The car was later removed from the scene.

Peter Clarke, Britain’s anti-terror police chief, said the explosives were powerful enough to have caused “significant injury or loss of life,” possibly killing hundreds.

Jacqui Smith, the UK’s new interior minister, called an emergency meeting of officials, calling the attempted attack “international terrorism.”

“We are currently facing the most serious and sustained threat to our security from international terrorism,” she said.

 

“This reinforces the need for the public to remain vigilant to the threat we face at all times.”

Clarke said police plan to examine footage from closed-circuit televison cameras in the area, hoping the surveillance network that covers much of central London will help them track down the driver of the Mercedes.

 

Security alert

The discovery came hours after Gordon Brown, the British prime minister, named a cabinet to succeed Tony Blair.

“The first duty of a government is the security of the people and as the police and security services have said on so many occasions we face a serious and continued security threat to our country,” Brown, in his third day in office, said.

Security around parliament was stepped up, with police body-searching drivers of vehicles entering the area.

A large area near Piccadilly Circus, packed with tourists, theatres, restaurants and pubs, was sealed off after the car was found.

Office workers unable to enter their buildings to start the work day milled outside, watching the police operation.

The bomb alert came almost two years after a series of coordinated suicide bomb attacks on London’s transport network killed 52 commuters, the first suicide bombings in Western Europe.

http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/358739DB-0658-4E7E-865E-0CFED656E5E7.htm

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