Tuesday, May 28, 2013

28-May-13: Post-slaughter, did the Brits think this was all behind them?

[Image Source]
A small point but when we wrote "24-May-13: Allegedly slaughtering people on the streets of London, and what we know about it", we mentioned the rather inane but conventional comments of Boris Johnson that
Londoners can go about their business in the normal way and we are going to bring the killers to justice. 
We know from not-so-pleasant experience about the political imperatives that sometimes cause public figures, and in particular politicians, to zoom right past the fresh bodies on the ground and the cheering friends of terror celebrating another victory for their brand of triumphal theology, and telling the public that it's all fine now, move along, nothing to see here and goodness, again, has prevailed.

So allow us to mention just a small handful of post-Woolwich reverberations that, by their nature, are going to get less attention than the sight of a large man gripping a butcher knife dripping with human blood and gore and speaking on some urban neighbourhood's shopping street, earnestly into the lens of amateur video cameras about why this is all perfectly understandable if you just stop for a minute and understand, really understand, why he had to do it.

Over in another famously tolerant European setting, Sweden, there have been ongoing riots and arson attacks on a huge scale for the past week, triggered after police "shot dead an elderly man brandishing a machete inside his house" [source: Telegraph UK]. Yes, they are being reported, sort of (see for instance "Stockholm riots leave Sweden's dreams of perfect society up in smoke"). And no, most people in most places seem to have very little of sense that (a) it's happening and (b) that it's about something more than unhappy, unemployed young people and warm weather.

From a Swedish news source, last night:
Britain's Foreign Office, the Dutch foreign ministry and the US embassy in Stockholm to issue warnings to their nationals, urging them to avoid the affected suburbs. Among the Swedes themselves, the riots have triggered debate over the integration of immigrants, many of whom arrived under the country's generous asylum policies and who now make up about 15 percent of the population. [The Local]
At the New York Times, they write that the Swedish upheaval raises
echoes of urban eruptions in France in 2005 and Britain in 2011 [that] have pushed Sweden to the center of a heated debate across Europe about immigration and the tensions it causes in a time of deep economic malaise.
And as the French and the British did in 2005 and 2011, the gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands go on while many observers, and overwhelmingly most of the news media, studiously avoid saying what people viewing the rock throwing, firebomb-hurling  rioters and their slogans and shouted exhortations to violence understand fairly well.

In France, the attack on a policeman in Paris that we noted on Sunday ["26-May-13: Terror alert level in France today: "Red, reinforced", one step down from scarlet"], is still not officially being termed a terrorist attack. But they know it, even if they are in formal denial. As Xinhua carefully framed it
French prosecutors opened an anti-terrorist investigation into the attack on a soldier who was stabbed in the neck in western Paris on Saturday
A report on Sunday in the UK's Independent put it this way:
Officially, the French government is making no direct link with the killing of a British soldier by two Islamist radicals on a street in Woolwich last Wednesday. Unofficially, investigators are said to believe it was almost certainly a copy-cat attack, possibly carried out on the spur of the moment. The French defence minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, who visited the injured man in hospital, said that it was clear that "someone wanted to kill him because he was a soldier". The interior minister, Manuel Valls, said France would continue to wage an "implacable fight against terrorism".
Back to the UK:

Jailed Islamic extremists 'stabbed and battered warder hostage after prison imam asked them to pray for murdered soldier Lee Rigby'
By DANIEL MILLER [UK Daily Mail] May 28, 2013 |
Three jailed Islamic extremists stabbed a warder and beat him for four hours, after the prison imam called on them to pray for murdered soldier Lee Rigby, it was reported last night. The group, which was believed to have been led by a terrorist prisoner serving a life sentence, snatched the officer from near the kitchens on E-wing at Full Sutton prison, near York. The terrified hostage, who is in his 30s, was locked in a cleaning room where he was beaten with mop handles and told he was going to die. The prison's National Tactical Response Group were called and eventually managed to free him and he was taken to hospital with serious injuries. The three prisoners were thought to have become enraged following a prison imam’s call for Muslim inmates to pray for soldier Lee Rigby, who was stabbed to death by extremists last week... The gang's leader is said to be an al Qaeda-linked terrorist currently serving a life sentence for plotting to murder a British Muslim soldier, believed to have been an inspiration for last week's attack. His accomplices were an African-born fanatic and and British man who converted to Islam while in prison. The warder hostage was said to have been battered senseless by the gang who threatened to pour caustic toilet cleaner in his eyes.
Prison authorities were reportedly concerned that they had managed to get hold of knives from the kitchens which they would use to behead their captive. Sutton Prison houses dozens of extremist prisoners and there has been recent concern about the spread of radical Islam behind its walls. In 2009 an escape plot was uncovered which involved hi-jacking a helicopter and landing it in the prison grounds to free nine Muslim inmates. [More at Daily Mail]
One of the constants in the media coverage of terror outrages carried out by avowed Islamists is the media propensity for first terming them the work of unaffiliated individual malcontents with a social grievance, and then more or less ignoring the mounting evidence of the opposite. Just two days ago, media channels reported that "Murder of London soldier raises fears of ‘lone wolf’ attacks" and "Are 'lone wolf' attacks the new path to terror?".

Today, parts of the mainstream media report that the lone wolves - who's really surprised? - are part of a much larger pack of savages with an ideological agenda. It's hinted at in a BBC report this morning ("Lee Rigby murder: Police make 10th arrest"). The lone wolves appear to have had accomplices, and the investigation is barely a week old.

Considerably more direct about this lone-wolf-versus-something-big-is-going-on theme are the editors at the Daily Mail UK. In a report yesterday ["The web of extremism surrounding Woolwich terror suspects"], they say:
A powerful web of Islamic radicals and terror convicts sits behind the two men believed to have executed Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich, it emerged today. Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, are both apparently linked to a wider network of men who are known to have either planned atrocities, preached violence or joined groups considered so extreme they are now banned. These apparent connections have come to light since the British Muslims were arrested on suspicion of hacking Drummer Rigby to death in broad daylight after he was run down with a car last Wednesday.
And illustrate it with this graphic

Image Source: Daily Mail UK, May 27, 2013
As for us, sitting far away from the British action, we say (again) only that terrorism is not in retreat but on the ascendancy, despite endless analytic reports to the contrary. And that the dangers and the pain they deliver up to ordinary people like us will end only when... ah, but then you can see what we want to say in the banner right at the top of this and every other page of our blog.

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