Monday, October 31, 2005

We are all suicide bombers now

There’s an interesting story about the alleged London suicide bombers in the Independent today

During a training seminar a Metropolitan Police anti-terrorism expert is quoted as warning fellow officers that terrorists now look and behave just like normal people going about their normal business…

As an example the unnamed official told delegates that Tanweer argued with a cashier that he had been short changed, after stopping off at a petrol station on his way to the intended target in London.

The official told the seminar held in Preston, Lancashire two weeks ago: "This is not the behaviour of a terrorist - you'd think this is normal.

"Tanweer also played a game of cricket the night before he travelled down to London - now are these the actions of someone who is going to blow themselves up the next day?

Me! Me! Me! I know the answer.

Cynical old scrotes like myself see this as part of the next stage of manipulating the 7/7 story. A very similar process took place after the 9/11 attacks. Uncorroborated assertions and rationalisations for apparently inexplicable behaviour are trickled into the public domain to consolidate the ‘official’ story; cementing it into the public consciousness. The most important thing is to ensure that these little titbits are never subject to any serious scrutiny.

The BBC did its part last week by airing a show called The 7/7 Bombers: A Psychological Investigation’. The clever part was showing this programme as part of the Horizon science documentary series. And, as we all know, scientists never bullshit and always stick to the facts.

Viewers were treated to fifty minutes of psychobabble that retrospectively fitted the actions of the 7/7 bombers to the official story. It was truly shameful. Whenever one of the bombers was on record as behaving like an innocent person that was due to their ‘discipline and training’ when they did apparently act suspiciously that was because the ‘strain was starting to show’. The entire exercise was reminiscent of that old Vietnam joke…

If he runs he’s VC. If he stands still he’s well disciplined VC

The most chilling conclusion of the programme coincided with the implication of today’s Independent story. The new breed of suicide bombers is indistinguishable from normal citizens. Their terrorist cells can form spontaneously and may have no contact with outside groups. There’s no way of picking them out.

This is the new dogma that is now being fed to people in the UK.

Part of me still thinks I’ll wake up one day to discover this has all been just a nasty little nightmare and Britain is sane again.

On top of the pseudo-scientific bullshit the BBC show also chipped in a few explanations for some of the oddities of 7/7 that the police haven’t got round to clarifying.

Oddities like, why did the suicide bombers buy parking tickets for their cars? A psychologist came on screen and explained, scientifically, that was because they didn’t want to draw attention to themselves by not paying the parking fee. Sadly, he didn’t go on to explain why the bombers a) bought return rail tickets or b) drove to Luton in the first place, when they could have taken the train to London directly from home.

The programme also repeated the timeline that has the bombers catching the 7.48am train to London. The problem with that is that the 7.48am was delayed and didn’t get into London in time to have carried out the attacks. Back in July, some newspapers reported the bombers caught the 7.40am, but that train had been cancelled.

The programme also managed to fully account for the motivations of the alleged 7/7 bombers without making any reference to Iraq whatsoever which, in itself, was quite an achievement on the part of the programme makers,

This behaviour is reminiscent of the treatment of some of the events of 9/11. Almost without exception, the mainstream media has forgotten that three buildings collapsed that day – the Twin Towers and WTC7. The collapse of WTC7 is quite problematic as it wasn’t hit by an aircraft and suffered only superficial secondary damage. The kind of damage that doesn’t cause 47 storey buildings to spontaneously collapse.

And the media’s treatment of the WTC7 collapse? It just doesn’t talk about it. Ditto for the sheer improbability of two of the hijackers’ passports being hurled out of the blazing planes onto the streets below and, unlike the aircraft black boxes, being recovered a few days later. The papers just didn’t touch it.

The failure to discuss WTC7 is the straw that broke the camel’s back when it came to my personal attitude to the mainstream media. If you can effectively write something as large as that out of history you can do anything. Luton train times and suicide bombers buying return tickets are fly shit in comparison.

Early last week the news outlets were full of the story that George Galloway had, yet again, been accused of corruption by a US senator.

What struck me most was the subliminal, and universal, suggestion of Galloway’s guilt in the coverage. This is in spite of the fact that he has gone to court, and won, a libel action concerning these matters. Jon Snow the anchor of Channel 4 News, for example, gave Galloway an absolute grilling; interrupting Galloway’s answers almost as a soon a Galloway started speaking and summarising the story with lines like

‘If Galloway is found GUILTY he could be sentenced to up to ten years in jail’

All the other news organisations said similar and managed to work the word guilty in most of the time. What none of them said was…

‘If Galloway is found INNOCENT that means a US senator is using forged material in an attempt to get an elected British MP jailed’

I mention all of this because at the end of the week on More4, Channel 4’s digital spin off, Jon Snow pointed out that US senators accusing George Galloway of corrupt dealings with the Iraq regime was intensely hypocritical when you consider that, in the same week, a UN report accused 2,000+ companies of doing the same. Roughly half are American and some have already owned up.

So, that suggests to me that at least some journalists are intelligent enough to know that they’re shovelling shit but only feel comfortable enough to comment on it when they don’t think many people are listening

Hmmmm… I really don’t know what’s worse, being an idiot or being a whore.


Anonymous said...

No surprise that one of the 'scientists' on the Horizon program was an Israeli.

de said...

Ah - that picture from the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Very iconic.

One thing the blogsphere is able in theory to fight the continuous micro shifts used to nudge opinion. These are quite different to one off stories that are planted for some sort of finite payoff. Today it was "should we have invited the families of the bombers to the 7/7 memorial service?". No, for they are GUILTY by association. Amen. Fortunately the church saw through this mischief and did not get involved.

But as some have noted, us Bloggers are getting weary - and the wolf does not blink.

Apprentice said...

Oh the weary, weary bloggers! :)

Shame about Jon Snow. I don't watch TV anymore, it makes me shout a lot, but his Snowmails throught 2002 and 2003 were pretty much on the button, I thought. Must subscribe again to see if he wangling for his knighthood.

I have to Blogroll you now. Three comments in one sitting is my criterion.

Shahid said...

Wonderful post Stef. Absolutely wonderful.

I just can't do stuff like this anymore. Maybe soon, but right now, you speak for the likes of me.

The image is truly iconic as de says, one of my all time favourite films and this moment is probably the most chilling moment in film history for me. Even more chilling than Carrie's hand coming out of the grave in that dream. Chilling because it tells us that in a world of shit, soon, we too will sink - and therefore stink.

Your writing helps us keep our heads above the shit for a while longer. Keep it up.

jackenstein of all trades said...

Just stumbled across this...
Build your own WTC.
Ok, so i'm being tasteless... but hey the mere existance of the thing is handy when the completest is doing table top reconstructions.

Stef said...

jackenstein - tasteless? you're never tasteless. I've already made a black and white version based on that link you've provided - just waiting for some new ink for my colour printer...

Stef said...

shahid - I'm blushing. Must be the menopause

Bridget Dunne said...


I just wanted to let you know that I have taken the BBC to task over it's Horizon programme, using the Beebs own complaints procedure. I have yet to receive a reply.
I have also complained via the Press Complaints Commission about inaccurate reporting of these young men's movements that morning which the PCC are investigating.