London is an extraordinary, teeming, multicultural metropolis. It is a great hub of international finance, politics and intrigue. Extraordinary things have happened in London throughout my adult life. Beneath the surface events are bubbling which most Londoners neither know nor understand.
An Italian banker, custodian of Vatican money and secrets, is found swinging under Blackfriars Bridge. Businessmen purchase seats in the national legislature simply for payments of cash. A Bulgarian dissident is killed with a tiny ricin pellet injected from an umbrella. A Brazilian electrician is executed by police on the London underground. The dismembered torso of a small African child floats down the Thames. The country’s most flamboyant businessman, a lawmaker, steals his workers’ pensions and leaves for a yacht cruise. Muslim lads from Yorkshire kill themselves and 67 people on public transport. Etonian mercenaries plan coups in Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea before finding respectability and the jackpot in Iraq. A Russian defector is poisoned with polonium and dies a slow horrible death. Politicians and civil servants concoct a dossier of lies to provoke a war. A girl is arrested for reading out the names of the dead at the Cenotaph, and a man for carrying Vanity Fair outside Downing St. A small black child bleeds to death in a tenement stairwell. Gays die as a nail bomb rips through a pub. The IRA run a long, slow war of death and attrition. Every year, scores of people simply disappear. Homeless people curl up like bundles in neon-lit doorways.
Two remarkable things happened in the last two days within half a mile of each other, at either end of Piccadilly. One, the car bomb, you have probably heard of. The second you probably haven’t.
This is a straight reproduction of a small article from The Metro newspaper, Friday June 29, 2007
“Mossad Spy” Found Dead
An Egyptian financier accused of spying for Israel has been found dead outside his London home in mysterious circumstances. Ashraf Marwan was alleged to have worked for Israeli intelligence agency Mossad during the 1973 Yom Kippur war with Egypt and Syria. He was accused of tipping Israel off about the war. Police said “He appears to have fallen from a balcony. The death is being treated as unexplained.” The 62 year old son-in-law of former Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser was found on Wednesday in St James’s, Central London.
The fact that these two incidents are less than ten minutes walk apart does not make them connected. They may or may not be. But I note this, and the list above, to help those who have difficulty imagining that there is any need to consider any possibility other than Islamic terrorism to explain the apparent Haymarket car bomb. Astonishing things do happen in London.
A good rule is to look at what did happen, not what might have happened. Consider this:
a) Nobody committed suicide. Rather than follow Scotland Yard’s Peter Clarke and speculate that was because the driver lost his nerve, let us admit that it is at least possible that nobody was intended to commit suicide. If suicide was not part of the modus operandi, that vastly increases the number of groups and individuals who might have been responsible.
b) No bomb exploded and nobody was killed. There seems a general presumption that was because the trigger failed, or was defused in time. That is possible, certainly. It could well be so. But there is another possibility that cannot be ruled out yet – perhaps the thing was not meant to explode, perhaps no-one was meant to be killed. Perhaps it was meant to look like a convincing bomb, even like a convincing failed bomb. If you accept that as a logical possibility, that would bring in even more individuals and organisations who might have been responsible. To be up for a bomb scare is very different to being up for a bomb.
Let me be quite clear again: Islamic extremists may very well be responsible. I am not saying they are not. I am saying nobody knows yet. But let me expand a bit on my Cui Bono theme.
There are plenty of companies – and wealthy individuals – making huge amounts of money from both the War on Terror and its equally ugly sister, the War in Iraq. There has been much speculation that Brown will edge away from both of these. If British troops were to withdraw from Iraq, for example, that could reduce the access currently enjoyed by companies, including Aegis and BAE, to billions of dollars of US government contracts for arms and mercenaries. These companies make money out of killing. Death is their business. Today’s car bomb – and the immediate media presumption it is Islamic terrorism – certainly forces Brown further into the War on Terror. The fact that the Iraq war is the root cause of an upsurge of terror in the UK, strangely does not negate the surge of political support for the War that this sort of incident brings as a reflex reaction from our leaders.
I am not saying it was Aegis or BAE. I am saying don’t be one-eyed about the possibilities. Look at the list of amazing things in London above. Do I really believe that there are wealthy people in London who would stage this sort of thing to protect or further their financial interests? Yes, I do.
It could well be Islamic terrorists. That remains the most probable explanation – but by no means the only possible explanation. It could have been a preparation for an attack on tomorrow’s Gay Pride march. Mossad? Why not? We just don’t know yet. There is also of course the possibility that whoever planted it has tried to make it look like another group, by planted forensic evidence or disguising the driver. Presumably we will see CCTV footage of the driver shortly.
I am also saying that I have first hand experience of the fact that governments lie about who plants bombs. See my posting on Lockerbie below. Read pages 325 to 339 of Murder in Samarkand. Or read Darkness at Dawn by David Satter, or The Quiet American by Graham Greene.