Hell. What a day. In a strange way the reports of today’s planned attack are worse than the actual attack on the London Underground last year. Somehow the threat of a land-based or surface-transport attack is always with us – a suicide bomber can kill scores of people with a conventional explosive. Yet the idea that the plot apparently involved liquid explosives that would be close to impossible to detect in hand luggage in a plane is quite scary. This looks like an advanced plan. I wonder whether this is actually going to change how we fly more than the measures introduced after 9/11 did – might we contemplate bans on all kinds of things (liquids, laptops, any batteries?) on aircraft?
Then there’s the issue of who the people were plotting the attack. As I write at 19:30 on 10th August, The Guardian is reporting:
Police were holding 21 people in custody in London following overnight raids by anti-terror officers and MI5. Mr Reid would not comment on claims that the detainees were British-born Muslims of Pakistani descent.
The BBC report here takes a similar line – thoughts that some of the suspects may be of Pakistani descent. And this on the day Timothy Garton Ash has written this scary column in The Guardian. Co-incidence, but perfect timing.
To cap it all, I had a dire day at work and hit a pothole when cycling home and have buckled my bike’s new front wheel a bit… 🙁 That’s at least better than my flatmate Justin’s experience – he was meant to be flying to Philadelphia today and is not going anywhere – he was on the plane but the US refused permission for it to take off.