Bomb explodes outside BA office in Iran
TEHRAN (Reuters) - A small bomb exploded outside the offices of British Airways, the BP oil group and DaimlerChrysler in the Iranian capital Tehran on Tuesday, but there were no casualties, officials said. They said the blast at 9.15 a.m. (0445 GMT) was caused by a bomb hidden in a rubbish bin in the hallway of a large tower block on the floor shared by the three international companies.
"I was sitting at my desk and suddenly we heard an explosion and there was smoke everywhere," said a witness who works in one of the offices. "Everyone panicked, especially the BA office people who are mostly women, they started to scream and we ran out of the office. Windows were smashed, there was a lot of damage to the building, parts of the ceiling collapsed," he said.
Iran is locked in a tense stand-off with Britain, Germany and France over it nuclear program. Iran said on Monday it had begun the process of restarting some nuclear activities which the three countries have warned could lead to U.N. sanctions.
Asked if there was a connection between the bombing and the nuclear dispute, British Ambassador Richard Dalton said: "We have no information yet to suggest so ...
"I am very glad there were no casualties," he told reporters. "It is clearly a serious incident. We don't know who might be connected to this. I will ask British citizens and Iranian authorities to take additional precautions."
A Reuters witness said the wall of the hallway was blackened above a rubbish bin next to the lift on the 10th floor of the large modern building. The large glass door of the BA office was blown off and lying on the floor. "We heard a bang and rushed out of the office and saw smoke in the corridor," Juergen Kuertz, manager of DaimlerChrysler in Iran, told Reuters. "The windows were smashed, but there was no one injured."
Police at the scene confirmed it was a bomb blast.
Iran's Interior Ministry said they had sent bomb disposal teams to the building. A BA spokesman in London said: "There has been a very small explosion outside an office block used by a lot of Western companies, including BA which is on the 10th floor. "There was no damage to the BA office, but the office will be shut for the rest of the day. I understand it was a very small device in a bin," he said. - Wired
Bombs or Fireworks??? DOH!!!
This seems very similar to the Bin Bomb outside the British consulate in New York before the UK Election
"Much about the attack did not make sense. Why was the first bomb detonated at 8.51am? This was an hour after peak commuter time: if the aim is to kill as many as possible, why wait? And why such small explosives?
The Madrid bombs, which claimed 190 lives, were judged to have been 25 pounds each: forensic examiners believe the London terrorists used 10-pound bombs. It was to the lower end of al-Qaeda's murderous scale.
Perhaps the bombers were inspired but not trained by al-Qaeda - and were less efficient than those who struck in Madrid. Or perhaps this was Britain's equivalent of the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing: a precursor of a larger attack to come. " - Blair is now up there with Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher by Fraser Nelson
A Story is being assembled right now as
a reference point in the futures managed 'history'
MI5 judged bomber 'no threat'
David Leppard - July 17, 2005
Nine bombs were found in car
Blair damns 'evil ideology'
ONE of the four suicide terrorists behind the London bomb attacks was scrutinised by MI5 last year, but was judged not to be a threat to national security, a senior government official said yesterday. As a result, MI5 failed to put him under surveillance and his plans to become a suicide bomber remained undetected.
Mohammed Sidique Khan, a 30-year-old teaching assistant from Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, who killed six other passengers when he blew himself up on a Tube at Edgware Road, was the subject of a routine threat assessment by MI5 officers after his name cropped up during an investigation in 2004. That inquiry focused on an alleged plot to explode a 600lb truck bomb outside a target in London, thought to be a crowded Soho nightclub.
This weekend, as the death toll from the terrorist attacks rose to 55 and Scotland Yard released the first CCTV image of the four bombers, it emerged that MI5 found out in 2004 that Khan had been visiting a house used by a man who had met one of the suspected truck-bomb plotters. However, MI5 officers subsequently decided that because Khan was only "indirectly linked" to one of the bomb suspects he was not considered a risk. The intelligence service took no further interest in him.
The government official said a "quick assessment" had been made of Khan at the time. Like hundreds of others linked to the inquiry, he was judged to be "on the periphery" of the suspect cell's network. "You made quick assessments of them to decide whether or not they were a threat. None of the other people were a threat, including Khan," the official said. He conceded that the agency might be accused of being at fault if it turned out that it had overlooked a terrorist suspect. "MI5 is fair game at the moment," he said. "We've only got finite resources. You can only concentrate resources on those people who are a direct threat to national security." He said extra funding to pay for 1,000 more MI5 staff, which was agreed last year, had only just started coming on stream.
The decision behind the assessment is now being urgently reviewed in the light of Khan's role in the London attacks and further claims about his suspected terrorist background. Two American intelligence officials said last Friday that Khan was known to Mohammed Junaid Babar, who pleaded guilty in June 2004 to providing material support to Al-Qaeda. Babar has admitted setting up a training camp for Islamist terrorists in Afghanistan. He has told prosecutors that he worked to aid a plot to blow up pubs, train stations and restaurants in Britain. Last Thursday he identified a photograph of Khan as that of a man he had met in Pakistan, according to an American official. Scotland Yard is trying to establish whether any of the suicide bombers were radicalised in religious schools in Pakistan. - timesonline.co.uk
London bomber visited Westminster as MP's guest
15/07/2005 - 18:40:31 - One of the London bombers visited the Houses of Parliament as a guest of an MP, the British Labour Party confirmed tonight.
Mohammad Sidique Khan visited parliament in July 2004 in his capacity as a learning mentor at Hillside Primary School in Leeds.
The bomber, who was responsible for the Edgware Road blast, met Labour MP Jon Trickett. Mr Trickett, whose wife Sarah is headteacher at Hillside, spoke today of his shock. He said: "I was shocked to learn that someone who had grown up in the area of Beeston where I lived and which I represented on Leeds City Council for 12 years should turn out to be one of the London bombers."
It was also confirmed that Khan visited Mr Trickett and his wife at their home.
In July last year, the MP's wife took a number of her schoolchildren on a trip to London and Khan accompanied the party as a member of school staff.
The school group visited a number of attractions including the London Eye and St James's Park.
During the visit, Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn joined the group in Portcullis House to talk about his role as their local MP and answered the children's questions.
They then met Mr Trickett who accompanied the group on the rest of their visit around the Palace of Westminster.
As soon as Mr Trickett realised this man was one of the London bombers he informed the Chief Superintendent in charge of Commons security, the British Labour Party said. - IOL
Boo! New attack imminent!
People observe a two-minute silence in
remembrance of the victims of the London terror attacks at
King's Cross train station in London on Thursday. (AFP)
Police Warn of New Attack on London
Mushtak Parker, Arab News LONDON, 15 July 2005 - British police have warned that a second terrorist attack on London is even more likely, following the uncovering of a massive explosives factory in a safe house in Leeds. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair gave the somber warning to Londoners yesterday and stressed that "there are lots more secret Al-Qaeda terrorist cells operating within the UK."
Anti-terrorist branch officials estimate that there was a hard core of about 200 to 300 Al-Qaeda-trained Muslim radicals in Britain, all of whom are under the constant surveillance of the intelligence services.
However the four Brit bombers who exploded the four bombs in London on July 7 never appeared on the radar screen of the intelligence services. This is worrying government officials, the security services and community leaders.
Police yesterday cordoned off another premise in Beeston in Leeds - a shop which has been closed for some time. In fact, residents in the immediate vicinity have been evacuated and prior to that were asked by police to take clothings for three nights. Reports suggest that the shop has a substantial store of explosives, which may be unstable or primed, hence the evacuation as a safety measure.
On Wednesday evening, police raided another house in Northern Road, Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, where it is believed the fourth bomber may have lived. Forensic experts have been combing the house, although police have confirmed that no explosives have been recovered and no arrests were made.
It is now believed that the fourth bomber is a Jamaican-born Briton. Police also confirmed that the death toll now stands at 53, as the painstaking task of identifying body parts as a result of the bomb blast on the Picadillay line at King's Cross continues.
Reports from US intelligence sources quoted in London suggest that Britain was warned two months ago that Al-Qaeda was planning a "Madrid-style" attack on the London transport network. Captured Al-Qaeda operative Abu Faraj Al-Libbi, who was arrested in Pakistan and who is now in the custody of the Americans, has apparently briefed US intelligence interrogators to this effect.
British Home Secretary Charles Clarke has stressed that the attacks in London "came out of the blue" and there were no warnings from the intelligence services.
Sir Ian also had a strong message for Britain's 1.6 million Muslims.
"For the Muslim community," he said in an interview with the London Evening Standard, "their worst nightmare has been fulfilled. We will be offering them the opportunity to closely work with us. The message must be that there is nothing wrong with being a fundamentalist, but help us stop the slide into extremism. In my view the people who did this are equivalent of the people who shoot abortion doctors in southern American states in the name of Christ. It's the same perversion of a religious position. We've got to help the community make that absolutely clear."
Home Secretary Clarke has started an urgent review of anti-terror measures including an automatic ban on Muslim extremists who have been excluded from the US, from entering the UK. The ban would prevent controversial personalities such as Dr. Yusuf Al-Qaradawi and Professor Tariq Ramadan from entering the UK. In fact, Professor Ramadan is due in London this week for a conference. Asylum seekers and those with permanent residence in the UK may also be subject to strict conditions including a ban on inciting or encouraging terrorism. Clarke also announced a review of deportations, revealing that the government will be seeking a new agreement with North African countries which would allow the UK to send back foreign nationals who pose a security threat to the UK. The new arrangements would seek guarantees that those nationals who are deported to countries such as Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, would not be tortured or face the death penalty in their countries of origin.
[my note: this is bullshit see: here & here]
Londoners, in the meantime, have been paying tribute to the victims of the bombings. Yesterday evening Ken Livingstone, the London mayor, led a vigil under the theme "London United" in Trafalgar Square where a crowd of about 15,000 people gathered in a reflective tribute to the victims, highlighted by speeches by survivors; emergency services personnel; and a host of celebrities including Lord Coe, chairman of the London 2012 Olympic Bid Team.
Joined by others from Bali to Spain - both targets of previous Al-Qaeda attacks - Britain earlier came to a standstill at noon in silent tribute to the people killed.
From Buckingham Palace to Downing Street, to Tavistock Place and King's Cross, Londoners came out in their thousands to show their solidarity and defiance against the terrorists.
For two minutes the wrold's eyes were focused on London. In Kabul and Baghdad, British Embassy staff and other well-wishers observed the silence.
In Paris, President Chirac inspecting a Bastille Day parade similarly led his prime minister and thousands of Parisians into observing the two-minute silence.
Prince Charles stressed that "the way in which London has coped in the past week is a cause for real national pride. It is the duty of every true Muslim to condemn this behavior.
My Guess is... it will be the Houses of Parliament: a new Reichstag
Suicide bomber may have been 'brainwashed', says family
16/07/2005 - 15:13:30 - The family of one of the London suicide bombers today said he may have been "brainwashed" into carrying out such an evil act.
Seven people, including the bomber, died in the Edgware Road blast on July 7, which was one of four devastating explosions across the capital. The number of people killed in the atrocity rose to 55 today after a man died overnight at the Royal London Hospital, in the East End.
Of the dead, 41 have been positively identified by police and 31 named publicly. Today the family of Mohammad Sidique Khan expressed their sympathy to the victims, their friends and family.
In a statement through West Yorkshire Police, they urged anyone with any information to contact detectives in order to "expose these terror networks who target and groom our sons to carry out such evils". The statement went on: "The Khan family would like to sincerely express their deepest and heartfelt sympathies to all the innocent victims and their families and friends affected by this horrific and evil act. "We are devastated that our son may have been brainwashed into carrying out such an atrocity, since we know him as a kind and caring member of our family."
Khan lived in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire with his wife and their young daughter. The message from his family came after it emerged that he had attended Parliament last year as the guest of a Labour MP. The 30-year-old learning mentor worked at Hillside Primary School in Leeds and met Labour MP Jon Trickett in July 2004, whose wife Sarah is headteacher at the school. Khan met Cabinet minister Hilary Benn, the International Development Secretary, and rubbed shoulders with unsuspecting politicians on a tour of the Palace of Westminster with Mr Trickett.
The disclosure prompted fears that the Houses of Parliament may have been considered as a target.
Parliament refit allows time for another fit up job?
Blair and ministers go on holiday despite terror crisis
By George Jones, Political Editor (Filed: 01/08/2005)
Tony Blair will leave London for a family holiday this week despite concern that he will be out of the country at the same time as Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, and Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary. Mr Blair and senior ministers have decided to continue with planned summer breaks even though the country is in the midst of its biggest security alert after the bombings.
Downing Street and the Home Office yesterday denied reports that David Blunkett would assume control of the Home Office and the fight against terrorism while Mr Clarke was on holiday. Mr Blunkett was forced to step down as Home Secretary because of a row over a visa for his former lover's nanny. He was brought back into the Cabinet as Work and Pensions Secretary, but is keen to become involved in the response to the terrorist threat.
Officials said Hazel Blears, Mr Clarke's deputy, would be in charge, while John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, who returns from his holiday this week, would be in overall control of the Government while Mr Blair was away. For security reasons, No 10 is refusing to give details of Mr Blair's holiday plans, though officials indicated that he would be departing in the next few days.
Mr Clarke has already faced criticism for going on holiday last week at a time when police leave had been cancelled because of the manhunt to find those responsible for the July 7 bombings.
But Mr Blair has made clear he believes it is "sensible" for ministers to take a break with their families, emphasising that modern communications mean that they can remain in instant touch with officials in London.
Geoff Hoon, the Leader of the Commons, defended the decisions of Mr Blair, Mr Clarke and Mr Straw to be away.
"It is necessary for ministers to take a break. Charles Clarke has had a very tough time in recent weeks. It is important that he is able to spend time with his family, and come back refreshed. There are very senior ministers in London day to day taking responsibility for whatever may arise."
Ministers wherever they were would have secure communications, with the ability, "as the Prime Minister always does, to be in constant contact with London wherever he happens to be".
Mr Hoon also defended Parliament's 80-day summer recess and played down the prospect of an early recall to debate the bombings. He said MPs would be working in their constituencies and taking a break with their families. Parliament should only be recalled if there was something specific for it to do in resolving the crisis.
He argued that Parliament's break might aid the main parties in reaching a consensus on new anti-terrorism measures. - Telegraph
Prime Minister Tony Blair was hit by a missile thrown from a gallery in the House of Commons today.
Protestors hurled purple powder at the Premier striking him between the shoulder blades and clattering to the floor. Dads' rights pressure group Fathers 4 Justice later claimed responsibility for the attack. [Source]
The House voted Thursday to extend the USA Patriot Act, the nation's main anti-terrorism tool, just hours after televisions in the Capitol beamed images of a new attack in London... The House debate included frequent references to the attacks earlier in the day, two weeks after larger London blasts that killed 56, including four suicide bombers. [Source]
Ministers argue that a long recess is necessary to give workmen time to construct a permanent security screen at the front of the Commons public gallery. [Source]
Senior British police have asked UK Prime Minister Tony Blair for draconian new powers, including the right to detain a suspect for up to three months without charge, a new specialist U.K. border-security agency along the lines of U.S. Homeland Security and removal of a suspect's right to silence. The police body further wants to be able to attack and close down Web sites in order to to "suppress inappropriate internet usage." [Source]
Why isn't this kind of rhetoric labelled Racist?
Blair vows hard line on fanatics
Tony Blair has outlined a raft of plans to extend powers to deport or exclude foreigners who encourage terrorism.
The UK can already exclude or deport those who pose a threat to security and Mr Blair said he also wanted to clamp down on those who advocated terror.
The prime minister said he was prepared to amend human rights laws to make deportations more straightforward. But Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy said Mr Blair's announcements would put the cross-party consensus under strain. The measures came as Scotland Yard confirmed they had arrested two more people in London earlier this week in connection with the 21 July attempted bombings. It brings the total of people still in custody over the bomb attempts to 17 - three of whom have been charged.
On the new anti-terror package, Mr Kennedy warned that plans to ban Muslim organisations, powers to close mosques and deport people who "visit particular bookshops and websites" risked "inflaming tensions and alienating people".
Shami Chakrabarti, director of civil rights group Liberty, said Mr Blair has attacked key human rights and would jeopardise national unity.
Home secretary to consider deporting any foreigner involved in listed extremist centres and websites
Make justifying or glorifying terrorism anywhere an offence
Automatically refuse asylum to anyone with anything to do with terrorism
Examine calls for police to be able to hold terror suspects for longer before pressing charges
Use more control orders against British terror suspects
Create a list of preachers who will be kept out of the UK
Conservative shadow home secretary David Davis welcomed the broad thrust of the proposals on exclusions and deportations but he said the consultation period was very short.
Mr Davis said: "It is vital that the home secretary is able to use his powers to deport or exclude non-UK citizens who threaten our national security - we have been calling for him to use these for some time."
London has been nicknamed "Londonistan" - centre for militant Islam - by some critics who believe the UK has been too liberal towards radical clerics.
At the final news conference before his summer break, Mr Blair said British hospitality had been abused and people should know the "rules of the game are changing". "People now understand that when we warned of the terrorist threat it wasn't scaremongering it was real, he said.
Among the planned changes, Mr Blair said people would be refused asylum if they had been involved in terrorism.
A one-month consultation would be held on the new grounds for excluding and deporting people - something which does not require new legislation.
HAVE YOUR SAY
Our hospitality has been abused so we need to take action to safeguard our citizens - Lucinda Ball, London, UK
[my comment: What the Fuck! is this a BNP news article?]
Mr Blair said Parliament might be brought back from the summer recess early to discuss other measures. These will include advocating violence to further a person's belief, justifying or validating such violence, or fostering hatred.
The Hizb ut Tahrir organisation and Al-Muhajiroun - or its successor group - are to be banned, Mr Blair announced. "We will also examine the grounds for proscription to widen them and put forward proposals in the new legislation," he said.
Imran Waheed of Hizb ut Tahrir said his group would fight any ban and insisted they were "non-violent". The Muslim Council of Britain said the ban would be "counter productive".
Mr Blair said British people were tolerant but "there is also a determination that this very tolerance and determination should not be abused by a small fanatical minority and anger that it has".
On Thursday al-Qaeda's number two threatened new attacks on London and blamed the prime minister for the 7 July bombings, which killed 56. Mr Blair said the British people knew how to deal with such comments, which had been made by those supporting the killing of innocent people in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Metropolitan Police chief Sir Ian Blair argued it would have been better to bring in the new measures at an earlier date but said he was glad action was being taken now. - BBC
who defines what is in the 'national interest'?
"The new measures will include expanded existing powers allowing the Government to strip citizenship from those with British or dual nationality who act in a way that is "contrary to the interest of this country"
UK PM Tony Blair
"If you are saying things that encourage people to become suicide bombers, that should be against the law," - Lord Falconer
if there are a spate of attacks, against the Oil industry, for instance.
Would any criticism of the 'War in Iraq' become a terrorist act?
Will this website be labelled a terrorist?
New Terror laws
New grounds for deporting and excluding people from the UK - including fostering hatred or, advocating and justifying violence to further beliefs. The powers will cover statements already on record. Consultation on the plans will finish this month
Agreements with other countries, such as Jordan, to ensure people can be deported to their nations of origin without being tortured or ill-treated
Amend human rights laws, if necessary, to prevent legal obstacles to new deportation rules
Home secretary automatically to consider deporting any foreigner involved in listed extremist bookshops, centres, organisations and websites
Make justifying or glorifying terrorism anywhere an offence
Automatically refuse asylum to anyone with anything to do with terrorism anywhere
Consult on setting a maximum time limit for extraditions to other countries - Mr Blair said it was unacceptable that Rashid Ramda, wanted for the Paris Metro bombing 10 years ago, was still in the UK
Examine calls for police to be able to hold terror suspects for longer before pressing charges
Use more control orders against British terror suspects, who cannot be deported
Increase the number of special judges hearing terror cases
Ban the Hizb ut Tahrir and the successor organisation of Al-Muhajiroun - and look at whether the grounds for banning such groups need to be widened
Review the threshold for gaining British citizenship and establish, with the Muslim community, a commission to advise how to better integrate parts of the community "presently inadequately integrated"
Create a list of foreign preachers who will be kept out of the UK and consult on creating new powers to close places of worship used to foment extremism
Use biometric visas for those from designated countries and compiling a database so people whose views or activities pose a threat to UK security can be kept out of the country. They could only appeal against the decision from overseas.
HIZB UT TAHRIR
Hizb ut Tahrir or HT is an Islamic splinter group, which is banned in some countries, including Germany
It was established in the Middle East in the 1950s with the aim of creating a single Islamic state ruled by Sharia law
A statement posted after last month's G8 summit said the "colonialists, especially America and Britain, harbour a hidden hatred against Islam and the Muslims"
IMRAN WAHEED, SPOKESMAN FOR HIZB UT TAHRIR BRITAIN
There will be serious repercussions in terms of community relations if this ban goes ahead. We have a lot of support among the Muslim community in Britain and it will be seen by the Muslim community as stifling legitimate political dissent. Hizb ut Tahrir is a non-violent political party. It has had a history of non-violence for the last 50 years and these measures are like what we have seen in Uzbekistan where President Karimov has been burning his political opponents alive.
Our members are all for political expression, not for violence. We have been very clear about that and we will fight any ban through the legal system. We will continue our work. Our work is totally non-violent. Our views are very similar to those in the Muslim community. We want an end to Western interference in Muslim countries.
This is nothing to do with not liking the country. We were born in Britain and there is nothing precluding a Muslim from a being a decent citizen in this country. By doing this, he [Mr Blair] is setting an example to the tyrant rulers of the Muslim world, encouraging them to further suppress their populations.
Just a co-incidence...
Mowlam publicly supported Claire Short
Mo Mowlam Seriously ill
Mo Mowlam still critically ill
3.28PM, Thu Aug 4 2005 = Former Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam remains critically ill in hospital, doctors said. The ex-Redcar MP previously suffered a brain tumour and her recent frail appearance has prompted fresh fears for her health. She is being treated at London's King's College Hospital where her condition remains "critical but stable".
It is understood the 55-year-old was admitted to hospital at the weekend. Mo Mowlam was made Northern Ireland Secretary when Labour swept to power in 1997 and quickly became known for her no nonsense approach in working towards the Good Friday peace agreement. She was undergoing treatment for a brain tumour at the time and was known to throw her wig across the room in frustration when talks stalled. She quit the Commons at the 2001 election after 14 years.
Robin Cook dies aged 59
Mat Smith and Agencies Saturday August 6, 2005 -
The former foreign secretary Robin Cook has died after collapsing on a mountain in Scotland, Scottish police have announced. Mr Cook had apparently collapsed with a suspected heart attack on the mountainside while out walking during his summer holidays. He was also reported to have seriously injured himself in a fall after his collapse.
The father-of-two grown up sons was on the mountain for nearly half an hour before rescue services reached him. Then, guided by medical experts via telephone, they battled to revive him using cardio pulmonary resuscitation equipment, before he was airlifted by helicopter to hospital in Inverness.
Mr Cook arrived at hospital at 4pm - some 90 minutes after his collapse and was declared dead five minutes later, said a spokesman for NHS Highland. But it was more than three hours later before police confirmed his death. A police spokesman added: "As is normal in such circumstances, a report will be prepared for the Procurator Fiscal."
...his powerful resignation speech on the eve of war won him great respect from opponents of military action.
recent Articles by Robin Cook
| Blair not present at Funeral|
Funeral attack 'what Robin would want'
RACING pundit John McCririck today defended his scathing attack on Tony Blair at Robin Cook's funeral yesterday, claiming it was what the former foreign secretary would have wanted.
He said his criticism of the Prime Minister's decision not to return from his Caribbean holiday to attend the service at St Giles Cathedral had been welcomed by Mr Cook's family. The horse racing expert, who forged an unlikely friendship with the late MP for Livingston through the pair's shared passion for the sport, pilloried Mr Blair from the pulpit, accusing him of "petty vindictiveness and moral failure". And he contrasted the Prime Minister's "snub" with Lady Thatcher's attendance at the funeral last month of former Tory Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath, which she attended even though they had been bitter political enemies.
Speaking after Mr Cook's funeral, Mr McCririck said he thought his words would have gone down well with his late friend. "I don't think there's anything in it that Robin would not have wanted me to say. You have a duty in these situations. "To treat a man of Robin's stature by saying, 'I'm just going to sit here on the beach' is a disgrace. I was merely reflecting what New Labour voters and everybody else was thinking - where's the Prime Minister? Where is he?"
Meanwhile, the Edinburgh-born impersonator Rory Bremner said it was an irony Robin Cook would have appreciated that the fake Prime Minister was at the funeral, but the real one was not. The former foreign secretary was one of Mr Bremner's most popular incarnations.
But the impressionist said that Mr Cook's sense of fun meant he always took his mimicking with good humour. - scotsman
well, well, well
Police foil gas attack on Commons
David Leppard and Robert Winnett - August 21, 2005
SCOTLAND YARD believes it has thwarted an Al-Qaeda gas attack aimed at ministers and MPs in parliament. The plot, hatched last year, is understood to have been discovered in coded e-mails on computers seized from terror suspects in Britain and Pakistan. Police and MI5 then identified an Al-Qaeda cell that had carried out extensive research and video-recorded reconnaissance missions in preparation for the attack.
The encrypted e-mails are said to have been decoded with the help of an Al-Qaeda "supergrass". By revealing the terrorists' code he was also able to help MI5 and GCHQ, the government's eavesdropping centre at Cheltenham, to crack several more plots.
The discovery of the suspected Commons nerve gas plot was behind the decision to increase security around parliament this summer. A senior officer said that the scheme had led to the intervention of Eliza Manningham-Buller, head of MI5, to assess parliament's security. The operation to deter the sarin gas attack is referred to in an internal police document obtained by The Sunday Times.
It is a minute of a meeting of senior police officers held last month at Specialist Operations 17 (SO17), the unit responsible for protecting parliament, and reveals that the team were waiting to be briefed on the plot.
This weekend a senior officer disclosed that the thwarted plot mentioned in the document involved a gas or chemical "dirty bomb" attack against parliament. "The House of Commons was one of their targets as well as the Tube," he said. "They were planning to use chemicals, a dirty bomb and sarin gas. They looked at all sorts of ways of delivering it."
But despite the successful police operation and upgraded security measures, senior officers are worried that security at the houses of parliament remains "unacceptable".
The police security memo, drawn up after the July 7 attacks, reveals high-level fears that suicide terrorists could use a black cab or a visit to an exhibition to mark the 400th anniversary of the gunpowder plot. It discloses that a military unit - said to have been special forces - recently carried out a secret examination of security at the House of Commons. It is believed that the exercise highlighted the ease with which terrorists could kill dozens of MPs in the debating chamber.
"(It was) felt all SO17 contingency plans should be reviewed against the new threat - a plan for a Kratos (suicide bomber) incident was required," the minutes record. A senior officer said that he "felt particular attention should be paid to cabs entering the (parliamentary) estate".
The memo records: "(A senior official) expressed grave concern at the shortage of security officers. He was worried that commitments such as the forthcoming exhibition on the gunpowder plot just could not be covered. He felt that an unacceptable number of posts were being closed down."
more analysis from Spyblog
which is it?
|We also learn from the Christian science monitor story above:
Meanwhile, Blair also was facing uncomfortable questions about his support for Ethiopia's prime minister, Meles Zenawi, after that nation's police shot and killed at least 30 people in two days of protests over recent elections, which opposition parties say were rigged. The Times reports that Blair had called Mr. Zenawi one of a "new breed" of African reformers.
As scores of wounded were taken to hospitals across the capital, gangs of youths shouted anti-Blair slogans at British people. A Briton working for the UN told The Times: "They were not threatening, but there is a lot of anger over Britain's support of this Government.
They shouted things like, 'Tell Blair to open his eyes', and, 'Tell your Government what is happening here'."
Another Briton said: "When is the West going to realise this Government is a bunch of morons?"
Britain called Ethiopia's ambassador to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London to convey the Blair government's anger at the events, and the British ambassador delivered a strong protest note to the Ethiopian government in Addis Ababa. Christian science monitor
Law defeated - for now
Terror plans suffer Lords defeats
Controversial plans for new anti-terrorism laws have suffered two defeats in the House of Lords. Peers voted to ditch plans in the Terrorism Bill for a new offence of "glorifying" terror. And they insisted on new safeguards on laws designed to stop the spread of terrorist publications.
Lord Lloyd of Berwick, an ex-law lord, said the glorification offence could put free speech at risk. Ministers will now ask MPs to reinstate the measure.
They stress that Labour's manifesto promised the glorification law - by convention, peers do not throw out manifesto commitments. The defeats are the second time the government has been thwarted by opposition peers in two days.
On Monday peers insisted the identity cards scheme should not go ahead until there were full estimates of its costs, but the Home Office says it will press ahead with the project.
In November Tony Blair suffered his first Commons defeat as prime minister when MPs voted against plans to allow police to hold terror suspects for 90 days without charge. Instead, it was decided 28 days - rather than the current 14 - should be the limit.
The Terrorism Bill was introduced following the London bombings of 7 July last year, in which four suicide bombers killed 52 people. The government originally planned a separate offence outlawing glorification of terrorism but later decided to include it as part of a more general offence covering "indirect encouragement" of terrorism. But in the report stage debate on the Terrorism Bill, Lord Lloyd said the glorification plan was still unworkable and incomprehensible. Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights has also voiced concern that the offence of glorifying terrorism is "not sufficiently legally certain". And peers voted by 270 to 144 to scrap the proposal.
Home Office Minister Hazel Blears immediately vowed to try to overturn the defeat when the plans return to the Commons. "The government has made a commitment to the electorate to make the glorification of terrorist attacks an offence, and we intend to honour it," she said. Ms Blears said it was unacceptable for people to be allowed to glorify terrorism and so make others more likely to make attacks. "There are, unfortunately, young and impressionable people in our society who can all too easily be manipulated by those preaching or advocating a message of hate."
Later, the government endured a second defeat - over plans to outlaw the spreading of terrorism publications.
The Conservatives and Lib Dems pushed through an amendment designed to ensure that somebody would commit an offence only if they acted recklessly or with intent to provide the publications. Opponents of the government's plans claim they could leave academics, librarians and shopkeepers open to prosecution. Lady Scotland said the government's own amendment would have ensured "intent" had to be proved for people to be convicted. She accused Tory peers of "opposition for opposition's sake" but critics said she had not answered their concerns and voted through their amendment by 234 votes to 134.
if Blair can't get these powers the easy way -
he'll do it the hard way - By bombing Parliament
Anti-terror laws 'may get tougher'
12 February 2006 - Anti-terror laws may have to get even tougher, Chancellor Gordon Brown is to declare in a dramatic appeal for backing for controversial security policies. As the Government faces rebellions over ID cards and a bid to outlaw glorification of terrorism, he will make a hard-hitting speech calling for a "shared national purpose".
Mr Brown, in Moscow on Saturday discussing how to smash terrorists' funding, will say both measures are vital and promise to make funding security measures a top priority. And, despite stressing new powers must be used accountably, he will court controversy by suggesting plans to hold suspects for up to 90 days without charge could be revisited.
Tony Blair suffered his first defeat as Prime Minister when Labour rebels forced the Government to set the maximum at 28 days - still twice the previous limit.
Monday's speech, at the Royal United Services Institute, will begin a series of addresses by the Chancellor setting out his vision of Britain's future.
"Addressing the reality and causes of international terrorism is the great new challenge of our times. Upon succeeding in meeting this challenge all else depends," Mr Brown will say. "So it is right to begin a series of speeches I make about how the Britain of the future will meet the global challenges ahead by addressing this question pre-eminent to our foreign defence and law and order policies, at the core of the very security and safety of our country and vital to the prosperity and future of our country. "For nine years as Chancellor, my aim has been a Britain strong in our stability; in the years ahead, I want a Britain both strong in stability and strong in security."
Mr Brown will say that funding for anti-terror policies - already set to double to £2 billion a year since the September 11 attacks - will be a priority for his review of Whitehall spending. He is also looking at putting it into a single fund and centralising control of anti-terror policies - a suggestion bound to fuel speculation of the creation of a minister for terrorism. - this is london
Britons must 'wake up' to terror risk, says Brown
(Filed: 12/02/2006) Opponents of tougher anti-terror measures must "wake up" to the scale of the security threat faced by Britain, Gordon Brown has warned.
Mr Brown said ID cards were 'vital'
The Chancellor is set to unveil a raft of new policies tomorrow, but the Government will this week face a tough task in the Commons to save two plans from embarrassing defeat. Both ID cards and proposals for a new offence of "glorifying terrorism" will be debated this week, measures dubbed "ineffective authoritarianism" by the Tories.
David Cameron, the Conservative leader, hit out at attempts to paint critics as "soft" on terror as a "transparent political stunt" and urged Labour MPs to rebel.
But Mr Brown said that people had to understand that the nature of the new threat made measures such as ID cards and the holding of suspects without charge vital. He said he would like to see the present 28-day detention limit extended back towards the 90-days MPs threw out in Tony Blair's first Commons defeat as Prime Minister.
"The number of leads that are being followed from July 7 is something in the order of 12,000. The investigation for the Ricin episode spanned 26 countries - every continent," he said. "People have got to wake up to the complexity, the scale, the global nature of this."
He said he believed people would be persuaded "in time" that suspects should be held for longer without charge if the necessary judicial safeguards were in place. Among measures to be unveiled tomorrow by Mr Brown is a move to centralised funding for anti-terror work - believed to presage the creation of a homeland security department. - telegraph.co.uk/
MPs back ban on glorifying terror
The Terror Bill has had a rough passage through Parliament Tony Blair's controversial plan for a new law to stop people "glorifying" terrorism has been backed by MPs. The House of Lords voted last month to remove the measure from the Terrorism Bill, but the Commons has now voted by 315 to 277 to reinstate the plan.
Mr Blair said the vote was a "signal of strength" which could outlaw placards glorifying the bombers who attacked London last July. But the Tories accused Mr Blair of "ineffective authoritarianism".
The Lib Dems and Tories both opposed the law.
They said existing laws - and plans for a new offence to prevent indirect encouragement of terrorism - mean the glorification offence is not needed. Seventeen Labour MPs rebelled in the vote and some others abstained, reducing the government's usual majority of 64 to 38.
The Terrorism Bill was introduced after July's bomb attacks in London. It has suffered a rocky ride in Parliament, with MPs voting down plans to allow police to hold suspects for up to 90 days without charge. Wednesday's vote sets up a potential battle with the House of Lords.
Opposition peers will have to decide whether to continue their battle against the glorification offence when the bill returns to the Lords. The Commons debate also saw MPs reverse another change imposed by the Lords. MPs said police should not need a warrant from a judge to be able to tell internet service providers to remove terrorist material from websites.
The return of the bill to the Commons comes after MPs overturned a Lords defeat on plans to make ID cards compulsory for all new passport holders. Acting Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell called the government's plans a "distraction".
"The purpose of passing legislation is not to 'send a message', as the prime minister seems to argue. It is to change the law," he said.
But Mr Blair said dropping the glorification offence would prove counter-productive.
Reacting to the vote, Mr Blair said Parliament had shown it wanted to tackle not only those directly committing terrorist acts but also people who encouraged terrorism. The prime minister said the law would allow action to be taken against people with placards glorifying the 7 July bombers - which were seen in London during protests against cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad.
But the Tories accused ministers of trying to grab headlines rather than create watertight laws. Conservative shadow home secretary David Davis attacked suggestions his party was "soft on terrorism". He said opponents of the glorification clause included people like ex-Cabinet minister Lord Tebbit, whose wife was still disabled from a terrorist attack. "All these people want to get the best outcome for the law," said Mr Davis. "We are not playing politics with terrorism, arguably Mr Blair is, I am afraid."
Home Secretary Charles Clarke said the glorification clause was needed to act against organisations which tried to promote terrorism and created an atmosphere where impressionable young men thought suicide bombings were a "noble and holy activity".
Learn from History:
if Blair can't get these powers the easy way -
he'll do it the hard way - By bombing Parliament
February 27, 1933
The German Parliament (Reichstag) burns down. A dazed Dutch Communist named Marinus van der Lubbe is found at the scene and charged with arson. [He is later found guilty and executed].
February 28, 1933
President Hindenburg and Chancellor Hitler invoke Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution, which permits the suspension of civil liberties in time of national emergency. This Decree of the Reich President for the Protection of the People and State abrogates the following constitutional protections:
Free expression of opinion
Freedom of the press
Right of assembly and association
Right to privacy of postal and electronic communications
Protection against unlawful searches and seizures
Individual property rights
States' right of self-government
A supplemental decree creates the SA (Storm Troops) and SS (Special Security) Federal police agencies.
At the time the firing of the Reichstag was blamed on the Communists, but there is little question in historical perspective that the fire was deliberately set by the Nazis to provide an excuse to seize political power. Fritz Thyssen [my note; A business ally of Prescott Bush] commented in the post-war Dustbin interrogations:
"When the Reichstag was burned, everyone was sure it had been done by the communists. I later learned in Switzerland that it was all a lie."
Hitler used the 1933 burning of the Reichstag (Parliament) building by a deranged Dutchman to declare a "war on terrorism," establish his legitimacy as a leader (even though he hadnt won a majority in the previous election).
[see 9-11, Bali...Madrid...Turkey...London]
"You are now witnessing the beginning of a great epoch in history," he proclaimed, standing in front of the burned-out building, surrounded by national media. "This fire," he said, his voice trembling with emotion, "is the beginning." He used the occasion "a sign from God," he called it to declare an all-out war on terrorism and its ideological sponsors, a people, he said, who traced their origins to the Middle East and found motivation for their "evil" deeds in their religion.
[see The wars in Afghanistan & Iraq - Abu Ghriab - Detention without trial & the Rendition Program]
Two weeks later, the first prison for terrorists was built in Oranianberg, holding the first suspected allies of the infamous terrorist.
[see Guantanamo Bay & Diego Garcia]
In a national outburst of patriotism, the nations flag was everywhere, even printed in newspapers suitable for display.
[see Bushes speeches in front of the troops, see the vigil for the London bombings & the 2012 Olympic games being linked]
Within four weeks of the terrorist attack, the nations now-popular leader had pushed through legislation, in the name of combating terrorism and fighting the philosophy he said spawned it, that suspended constitutional guarantees of free speech, privacy, and habeas corpus. Police could now intercept mail and wiretap phones; suspected terrorists could be imprisoned without specific charges and without access to their lawyers; police could sneak into peoples homes without warrants if the cases involved terrorism.
[see The Patriot Act - The Anti Terrorism Bill]
Cloak & Dagger
V FOR VENDETTA was filmed in Berlin, Germany, at Studio Babelsberg, the very same studio where Fritz lang filmed METROPOLIS, as well as on locations throughout London...it is set in a near future in a totalitarian UK ...where a terrorist , wearing a Guy Fawkes psyche... fights against fascist junta...the trailer shows Parliament being blown up
Set against the futuristic landscape of totalitarian Britain, V For Vendetta tells the story of a mild-mannered young woman named Evey (NATALIE PORTMAN) who is rescued from a life-and-death situation by a masked man (HUGO WEAVING) known only as "V". Incomparably charismatic and ferociously skilled in the art of combat and deception, V ignites a revolution when he urges his fellow citizens to rise up against tyranny and oppression. As Evey uncovers the truth about V's mysterious background, she also discovers the truth about herself - and emerges as his unlikely ally in the culmination of his plan to bring freedom and justice back to a society fraught with cruelty and corruption.
"This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is it vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished, as the once vital voice of the verisimilitude now venerates what they once vilified. However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation, stands vivified, and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin van-guarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose vis-à-vis an introduction, and so it is my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V."
PM calls for worldwide terror war
Mar 21 2006 - Prime Minister Tony Blair is to call for a worldwide battle of "values and ideas" to combat the global threat of terrorism. He will defend Britain and America's intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan and criticise those opposed to his vision of an "activist" foreign policy. Mr Blair, in the first of a series of three major speeches outlining his approach to foreign policy, will also warn: "This is not a clash between civilisations, it is a clash about civilisation." He says terrorism must be confronted both in Britain and abroad, whether in Lebanon or Palestine, or Madrid or Paris. He will attack the terrorist ideology for its "absurd" anti-Americanism, its pre-feudal approach to government and its approach to the role of women and intolerance of other faiths.
In his speech, Mr Blair will seek to explain what links the Government's approach to issues such as Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Iraq, Afghanistan, climate change and poverty in Africa. According to a resume and extracts released by the premier's official spokesman, Mr Blair will in particular underline his belief in an activist approach to foreign policy based on values as well as interests. He will say such an interventionist approach is an essential pre-condition to our future prosperity and stability. Mr Blair will argue that Britain and the world needs to develop "the politics of globalisation" to match the economics of globalisation.
And he will contrast that approach with what he labels "the doctrine of benign inactivity", which he says views America's response to September 11, 2001 as a gross over-reaction and each setback in Iraq and Afghanistan as a reason why Saddam Hussein and the Taliban should have been left in power. The Prime Minister will say such an approach ignores the "life choices" each country faces between completing the transformation to democracy or returning to misery for millions. - icnorthlondononline.icnetwork.co.uk
Robert Cooper: Blairs policy wonk attack dog
"Among ourselves we operate on the basis of laws and open cooperative security. But when dealing with more old-fashioned kinds of states outside the postmodern continent of Europe, we need to revert to the rougher methods of an earlier era - force, pre-emptive attack, deception, whatever is necessary to deal with those who still live in the nineteenth century world of every state for itself. Among ourselves, we keep the law, but when we are operating in the jungle, we must also use the laws of the jungle."
Met chief to warn of more terror attacks
By Jimmy Burns in London and Farhan Bokahari in Islamabad - April 18 2006
Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan police commissioner, is expected to warn in the US that Britain faces further terrorist attacks, which although influenced from abroad could be carried out by a new generation of home-grown mass assassins.
The threat to the west from global terrorism and the links forged by law enforcement and intelligence agencies to try to deal with it will be the broad theme of his lecture today to the Citizens' Crime Commission of New York City.
A previous lecture to the same organisation by Robert S Mueller, chief of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, after the September 11 2001 attacks boasted how the US had "taken the fight to al-Qaeda" and "taken into custody more than 3,000 al-Qaeda leaders and foot soldiers worldwide".
But Sir Ian's speech, nine months on from the July 7 London bombings, is likely to present a more sober assessment of the so-called war on terror amid emerging threats and evidence of a lack of political consensus for dealing with them.
According to a government report due to be published after Easter, the July 7 bombings, which killed 52 people, were planned and executed by four British-born extremists who lived and worked in Muslim communities.
Police and security agencies have not uncovered evidence of a wider international operational link to the plot, although the bombers were inspired by al-Qaeda's distorted interpretation of Islam and justification for human slaughter.
Two theories initially surrounding the plot - that the bombers were linked to terrorists in Pakistan and may have had help from an Egyptian-born chemist in making their bombs - have been discounted.
Two of the bombers, Mohammad Sidique Khan, the Leeds-born primary school teacher now believed to be the leader of the July 7 bombers, and Shahzad Tanweer were discovered to have travelled to Pakistan between November 2004 and February last year.
This raised questions over the role that may have been played by madrassah Islamic schools in providing know-how in the manufacture and use of explosives later used in the attack.
Senior intelligence officials in Islamabad said this week they had yet to find any links to the London bombings and their British counterparts have also failed to come up with any firm intelligence pointing to such a connection.
What UK investigators now believe is that Khan was radicalised before his trip to Pakistan, although along with Tanweer his beliefs might have been reinforced by the journey.
Such findings have not dispelled questions about the extent to which shortcomings in intelligence may have undermined the UK's national security after it emerged that MI5, the Security Service, and police called off a surveillance operation on Khan during an investigation into a separate suspected terrorist plot more than a year before the attacks on London's transport system.
UK police and intelligence sources say that while numerous suspect extremists are under surveillance, there remains a worrying intelligence gap about individuals who may be considering acts of terrorism but on whom there is no information due to the lack of a developed secret agent structure within the Muslim community.
Pakistan says it has banned foreign nationals from attending madrassah schools without permission from the government - a move Pakistani officials say is helping stem the tide of foreign nationals venturing into a network that western intelligence officials believe remains central to promoting militancy.
A government strategy in recent months has been based on greater engagement with the Muslim community.
Even that, say representatives of the Muslim community, might end up understating the extent to which the foreign policy being pursued by the UK's alliance with the US, particularly in Iraq, might have contributed to radicalising the July bombers.
Imayat Bunglawala, secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: "The problem for the governmentis that it cannot admit that its own foreign policy may have contributed to undermining national security, which is why we want a public inquiry into July 7." - FT.COM
Secret plans to protect Blair from terror attack left in hotel
By Pat Hurst, PA - Published: 25 May 2006 - Independent
Secret plans to protect Tony Blair from a terrorist attack were left in a hotel, it was claimed today.
They were part of a folder which lists ways in which assassins could try to kill the Prime Minister and other members of the Cabinet, it was alleged. It includes suggested "attack scenarios" including car bombs, mortar attack, rocket grenades and suicide bombers. The dossier covers security arrangements for the forthcoming Labour Party conference in Manchester in September. It was left in the Midland Hotel in the city, around the corner from the conference centre.
It was handed to a newspaper, The North West Enquirer, which handed it to Greater Manchester Police.
It is not clear how much of a security blunder release of the the details could be.
The documents were stamped "Restricted" and "Confidential", but Greater Manchester Police said security had not been compromised and no specific threat against the conference or the Prime Minister had been identified. The information is from a variety of sources dealing with security arrangements for the conference. A number of different agencies had taken part in the planning and it was not yet known which one had left the dossier in the hotel.
A force spokeswoman said it was not a member of Greater Manchester Police.
Yesterday, the force's anti-terrorism squad carried out a series of raids across the city as part of an investigation into suspects allegedly supporting terrorism in Iraq.
In 1996 Manchester's Arndale centre was bombed by the IRA and the same group killed five in an attack on the Tory Party conference in Brighton in 1984.
A GMP spokeswoman said: "Officers are confident that the folder does not belong to a member of GMP staff and are currently talking to partners to establish how the file was misplaced. "This is a major security operation involving many agencies and a great deal of planning and information sharing is inevitably involved in dealing with an event of this scale. "The information which police share with other agencies is risk assessed and the documents in this folder were of a level deemed safe to share with partners.
"Greater Manchester Police take all information and intelligence about security issues extremely seriously. "There is no intelligence to suggest that this event is a specific target for terrorists. However we are conscious of the fact that the city has been targeted in the past so we need to remain vigilant and it is only right that we have contingency plans in place to deal with all manner of eventualities."
Galloway says murder of Blair would be 'justified'
By Oliver Duff - Published: 26 May 2006
The Respect MP George Galloway has said it would be morally justified for a suicide bomber to murder Tony Blair.
In an interview with GQ magazine, the reporter asked him: "Would the assassination of, say, Tony Blair by a suicide bomber - if there were no other casualties - be justified as revenge for the war on Iraq?"
Mr Galloway replied: "Yes, it would be morally justified. I am not calling for it - but if it happened it would be of a wholly different moral order to the events of 7/7. It would be entirely logical and explicable. And morally equivalent to ordering the deaths of thousands of innocent people in Iraq - as Blair did."
The Labour MP Stephen Pound, a persistent critic of Mr Galloway during previous controversies, told The Sun that the Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow in east London was "disgraceful and truly twisted".
He said: "These comments take my breath away. Every time you think he can't sink any lower he goes and stuns you again. It's reprehensible to say it would be justified for a suicide bomber to assassinate anyone."
The Stop the War Coalition criticised Mr Galloway: "We don't agree with Tony Blair's actions, but neither do we agree with suicide bombers or assassinations."
Just hours after four bomb attacks killed 52 people on London's transport system last July, Mr Galloway said the city had "paid the price" for Mr Blair's decision to go to war in Iraq and Afghanistan. "Ten thousand Osama bin Ladens have been created at least by the events of the last two years," he told MPs in the Commons that day.
Mr Pound said at the time: "I thought George had sunk to the depths of sickness in the past but this exceeds anything he has done before." The Armed Forces minister, Adam Ingram, accused the Respect MP of "dipping his poisonous tongue in a pool of blood".
Mr Galloway yesterday made a surprise appearance on Cuban television with the Caribbean island's Communist dictator, Fidel Castro - whom he defended as a "lion" in a political world populated by "monkeys".
Mr Galloway shocked panellists on a live television discussion show in Havana by emerging on set mid-transmission to offer passionate support for Castro. Looking approvingly into each others' eyes, the pair embraced. - Independent
'Anthrax' scare for MPs
By JAMES CLENCH and
MIKE SULLIVAN - The Sun June 11th 2006
THE Commons was at the centre of an anthrax alert last night when a protester hurled white powder and repeatedly screamed: "You could all be dead."
A 5ft trail of powder was smeared across the floor of the central lobby.
The Palace of Westminster was sealed off for 15 minutes as officers in protective overalls, gas masks and gloves moved in.
The powder was immediately tested in case it was anthrax.
A bout half an hour later MPs were given the all-clear. Sources later revealed it had proved to be wheat flour.
Scotland Yard confirmed a man had been arrested. Sources later revealed the 36-year-old was protesting against a decision in the Lords over compensation to widows of men who died from asbestos poisoning.
A ruling last month means widows cannot sue individual companies.
Morecambe MP Geraldine Smith said after the scare: "It alarms me that someone could get in with any substance. It could have been anthrax. Who knows what the consequences could have been?"
Security was stepped up after a Fathers4Justice campaigner threw purple powder at PM Tony Blair in May 2004, and months later, five pro-hunting protesters stormed the Commons.