Thursday, July 07, 2005

Solidarity

[Note: Newer posts at the bottom, scroll down.]
[Update: I know this thread is getting long, but I've decided to just keep it going for the next few hours, since making are linking directly to it. Just keep scrolling to the bottom. If you want non-London-related posts, they are beneath this one. -- 4:37 p.m.]

My thoughts and prayers are with the people of London and Britain this morning, as they face the horrible tragedy that has befallen their city and country today. I'll have more to say later, but for now I'll be following the news like everyone else. The BBC, as always, is the best source for updates.

[Update: A visibly shaken Tony Blair, speaking from the G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland: "... It is important that those engaged in terrorism realise that our determination to defend our values and our way of life is greater than their determination to cause death and destruction to innocent people in a desire to impose extremism on the world. Whatever they do, it is our determination that they will never succeed in destroying what we hold dear in this country and in other civilised nations throughout the world." -- 7:40 a.m.]

[Update: The BBC has up a timeline of events in London and the response. Media are reporting now that there have been four explosions: three on Underground trains and one on a double-decker bus. Casualties are currently being described as in the "double digits." European news agencies are reporting that a previously unknown group, the Secret Group of al Qaeda's Jihad in Europe, is claiming responsibility. This is of course very early, and has not in any way been confirmed. -- 7:48 a.m.]

[Update: Via ABC, AP is reporting on the steps that have been taken to beef up security in the United States this morning, (which do not include raising the terror alert level yet) and the BBC scroll adds that France has boosted its terror alert level to red. -- 8:07 a.m.]

[Update: Tony Blair has just made another statement from Gleneagles, backed by the other world leaders at the G8 summit. He said the attacks "were on all nations," and "We will prevail. They will not." Link here. Much the same statement as he made earlier, but now with the world's leaders literally at his back. -- 8:11 a.m.]

[Update: The Bull Moose writes in "We are all Brits now" "The London explosions are a horrible reminder that we are at war with an insidious force that seeks appeasement from free people. That was the clear intent of last year's train attack in Madrid. However, Tony Blair is a leader who will not capitulate. He is a model of progressive resolve. All Americans, and particularly progressives, must stand with him and the people he leads.

This is a time that should force our own leaders to acquire perspective. Whatever partisan differences we have between us, our nation continues to face a terrorist threat. Our fiscal priorities must reflect that reality - homeland security remains inadequate and the military is stretched to the limit. This is the true crisis that demands our primary attention." -- 9:39 a.m.]

[Update: Jeff Jarvis at Buzzmachine is linking quickly and effectively to bloggers from London offering accounts and pictures of the attacks there. I'm just getting back up to speed after having to be away from the computer for a bit but I'll be updating regularly now through the morning. -- 9:45 a.m.]

[Update: Statement from President Bush here, from Gleneagles. Excerpt: "The contrast between what we've seen on the TV screens here, what's taken place in London and what's taking place here is incredibly vivid to me. On the one hand, we have people here who are working to alleviate poverty, to help rid the world of the pandemic of AIDS, 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 between the intentions and the hearts of those of us who care deeply about human rights and human liberty, and those who kill - those who have got such evil in their heart that they will take the lives of innocent folks.

The war on terror goes on. I was most impressed by the resolve of all the leaders in the room. Their resolve is as strong as my resolve. And that is we will not yield to these people, 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." -- 9:47 a.m.]

[Update: CNN and other media outlets are now reporting that the Egyptian ambassador to Iraq, kidnapped yesterday, has been murdered. This day of horrors around the world continues. -- 9:51 a.m.]

[Update: Estimates of those killed in the four simultaneous London attacks now stand at approximately 45, with four times that number injured. All innocent men, women, and probably children, going about their daily lives on a summer morning. A heinous act of hateful and useless violence. -- 9:55 a.m.]

[Update: Casualty estimates now continuing to climb, with the number of wounded believed to be "in the hundreds" - some British media outlets are saying that the number may be near 1,000. A rescue operation is apparently ongoing at the scene of at least one of the underground attacks. -- 10:03 a.m.]

[Update: Sir Iqbal Sacranie, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, condemns the attacks, saying "as with all other people in the community, we totally condemn the perpetrators of what appears to be this series of co-ordinated attacks in London which tragically has led to several fatalities and a large number of casualties." Other reaction from British Muslims here. The president of the Muslim Association said "The person who did this was targeting along with wider British society the Muslim community, ruining the good relationship we have," and urged all Muslims to be vigilant. A telegraph from the Vatican on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI reads in part "While he deplores these barbaric acts against humanity, he asks you to convey to the families of the injured his spiritual closeness at this time of grief." -- 10:12 a.m.]

[Update: An early AP report that Israeli Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu changed plans to attend a conference at a hotel located directly above one of the London attack sites after receiving advance warning from Scotland Yard is now being refuted. K.J. Lopez at The Corner reports that the Israli embassy in London received word immediately after the first attack, and Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said the same on Israeli Army Radio: "There was no early information about terrorist attacks. After the first explosion an order was given that no one move until things become clear," and Haaretz reports the same thing, via an updated AP story. -- 10:26 a.m.]

[Update: CNN and BBC now saying 33 people have been killed, 45 are seriously or critically injured, and upwards of 300 are injured. Again, these are very early numbers, and much could change as we move through the day. London officials, in a press conference, have just reiterated the point I made just above, that no advance warning of the attacks was received. -- 10:57 a.m.]

[Update: The BBC (anybody surprised?) has the best roundup I've found so far of U.S. actions in the wake of the London attacks, which have included increasing security on Amtrak and other mass ground transportation systems in cities around the country, stepping up security at British government sites in Washington, and taking "additional precautions" in D.C., New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. -- 11:22 a.m.]

[Update: U.S. media are now reporting that the terror alert level has been raised to orange for train systems across the country. -- 11:45 a.m.]

[Update: Sorry to have been away for a while, but I'm getting back up to speed on things now. We don't seem to have learned all that much new in the past couple of hours, but the BBC reports that the United Nations Security Council has passed a unanimous resolution condemning the attacks, and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has asked American embassies around the world to review security procedures. -- 2:38 p.m.]

[Update: Some valuable comments from Senator John McCain here, speaking on NBC earlier today. You can watch the whole interview there. -- 2:47 p.m.]

[Update: Jack Straw, the British Foreign Secretary, currently chairing the G8 summit while Blair is in London, said today's attacks "bear all the hallmarks of al-Qaeda." -- 3:33 p.m.]

[Update: Tony Blair is now back in Gleneagles, Scotland at the G8 summit. The death toll in this morning's attacks, the BBC says, now stands at 37: 21 at Kings Cross/Russell Square; 7 at Edgware Road; 7 at Liverpool Street; 2 on the double-decker bus at Upper Woburn Place. More than 700 others were injured. -- 4:31 p.m.]

[Update: Another statement from Tony Blair, given a little while ago. Excerpt:

"It is through terrorism that the people that have committed this terrible act express their values, and it is right at this moment that we demonstrate ours. I think we all know what they are trying to do - they are trying to use the slaughter of innocent people to cower us, to frighten us out of doing the things that we want to do, of trying to stop us going about our business as normal, as we are entitled to do, and they should not, and they must not, succeed.

When they try to intimidate us, we will not be intimidated. When they seek to change our country or our way of life by these methods, we will not be changed. When they try to divide our people or weaken our resolve, we will not be divided and our resolve will hold firm. We will show, by our spirit and dignity, and by our quiet but true strength that there is in the British people, that our values will long outlast theirs. The purpose of terrorism is just that, it is to terrorise people, and we will not be terrorised." -- 4:39 p.m.]

[Update: ABC News reports, "exclusively," that U.S. authorities say that two unexploded bombs have been discovered in London, as well as parts of timing devices used to trigger the attacks. This would finally provide an answer to the question that has been asked all day: the bombs were triggered by timer, not remote - and they were not carried by suicide bombers. The report adds "It is not yet known where the unexploded devices were discovered." -- 5:06 p.m.]

[Update: We're not learning much more new tonight on the network newscasts, and since it's the middle of the night now in London I don't anticipate much more "new news" until tomorrow. I'm reluctant to do it, but I'm going to move on to "other things" now, up on the main page. I literally haven't read much of anything other than London news today, so I will check in on what's been going on in the American political realm and be updating on that this evening. My sentiments tonight are just about the same as they were this morning: my thoughts and prayers are with the people of London as they mourn those they've lost today. We won't forget, and I am sure that American will offer every assistance possible in bringing those responsible to justice. -- 6:51 p.m.]

2 Comments:

At 8:43 AM, Blogger Heiuan said...

Can we now concentrate on our forgotten war to capture OBL?

Will these attacks in London provide the impetus for us to turn our ADD-afflicted national policy back to where we should have been concentrating our efforts?

 
At 9:14 AM, Anonymous Phil S. said...

Well put, heiuan!! We should have finished the job in Afghanistan, or at least avoided the disaster that is taking place in Iraq until OBL was captured.

 

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