Monday’s terrorist attack at the MEN Arena Manchester was an outrage, in which 21 mostly young people attending an Ariana Grande concert were murdered.
More than that, it was an Act of War by the Federal Republic of Germany against Our Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth II. Lacking strong government, with a weak Prime Minister with respect, Britain is not going to declare war on Germany, any more than we did after our community partner Adolf Hitler annexed Austria.
However, as in 1938, that is the direction in which we are headed. The Germans have shown themselves willing to murder eight year old girls in order to keep Britain in the German orbit, a.k.a. the EU. Germany lot a lot of friends this week.
There can be no doubt that Germany was behind the atrocity. The dead terrorist, dual UK-Libyan national, Salman Abedi, was loosely affiliated with the German-sponsored ISIS terrorist organisation. He flew to Britain from Dusseldorf, Germany, just days before the attack. The explosive used, TATP, and the timer, are consistent with those used in other German-sponsored attacks.
The attack happened in the middle of the British General Election campaign, in which the key issue is Brexit, and was clearly designed to intimidate voters into supporting a Labour, SNP and Liberal Democrat coalition committed to keeping Britain trapped inside the European single market, at a cost to UK plc of $5-6 billion a week.
Right from the time they arranged to sink the Titanic, German Intelligence has favoured murdering women and children for the shock value. We have seen the tactic time and time again – the Athenia in 1939, Comet Yoke Peter in 1954 and so on. We are heartily sick of it.
The attack required police co-operation, e.g. in relaxing security at the European-controlled MEN Arena concert venue. At some point on Monday evening bag checks were suspended. Security were prevented from detaining a suspected female suicide bomber inside the venue, although under British law they had power of arrest. Only Germany’s GO2, which has penetrated the Cabinet Office, which in practice controls the police, has that kind of pull. A senior police officer needs a lot of backing before getting into the grisly and entirely criminal business of acting as an accessory to child murder.
The German-sympathizing New York Times outraged British security officials by printing gloating pictures of the aftermath of the attack and handing out details which I assume were leaked by CIA, who need a good smack in return, no offense intended. The Times wouldn’t back a terrorist attack in the West unless it was German-sponsored. Frankly, the boys and girls there
have had enough time to process Germany’s defeat in World War II. The Bad Guys usually end up losing. Get over it.
All major terrorist attacks are state-sponsored. No other state has been seriously suggested as the sponsor. You can forget Russia, America or Israel, even France. None of those states has ever mounted a terrorist attack against British Subjects on British soil.
I feel sorry for Ariana Grande by the way. I’m pleased the Queen said some nice things about Ariana’s singing. She must be feeling awful, but she’s not to blame.
End of the Lone Wolf Theory
The only good thing to come out of this week has been the collapse of the Lone Wolf Theory. Encouraged no doubt by the Cabinet Office, the police were frantically pushing this line in the first 24 hours after the attack. MI5 then took over and we started to see a more rational response.
The police are rounding up the usual suspects, i.e. anyone who looks even vaguely Moslem, and generally are being about as efficient as the Keystone Cops. The search rather puts me in mind of the search for the Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town in the immortal Two Ronnies sketch series satirising the futile search for ‘Jack the Ripper’.
They’ll never catch the bomb and timer makers, any more than Scotland Yard caught the Ripper (partly because there wasn’t one – it was a group of German military doctors and intelligence officers) and aren’t even looking for the intelligence officers who planned the attack. Like the FBI, the police here have an almost deranged obsession with terrorism being no more than a crime committed by individuals or groups with a grievance.
The police still haven’t worked out the link to Brexit and they’re never going to. That requires analysis and analysis requires a brain, no offense intended.
I suspect that Abedi picked up the timer in Dusseldorf, Germany, to which city he flew from Syria. He had gone to Syria from Libya, his second country of nationality by virtue of the jus sanguinis. The TATP explosives were probably handed to him by a bomb-maker, using a cut-out, in the UK. Even with our current lax border controls it’s not that easy to get explosives through Manchester Airport. Don’t try it at home, at any rate.
Was Abedi a Suicide Bomber?
In my opinion he was not. Islamic suicide bombers tend to display a fixed set of behaviors, such as excessive praying before the attack, a robotic walk (they are very often drugged) and excessive signs of nerves. They also tend to wear more than one pair of shorts, presumably because they’re worried about not getting to shag their 72 virgins if they blow their willies off. They also tend to shout ‘Allahu Akbar’ or some such before blowing themselves to bits.
Abedi displayed none of the typical behaviour of a suicide bomber. He was also using a back-pack, not a suicide vest. Back-pack bombs, with the battery and a timer in the bag, are usually used by terrorists hoping to make a getaway.
My analysis is that GO2 double-crossed Abedi in the same way they double-crossed the 7/7 terrorists, who were told that their timers were set for ten minutes. I’m not sure that Abedi was a screamer. You get a few milliseconds warning of the explosion of your back-pack (the detonator goes first of course) before the shock-wave blows your torso across the street, or in this case, foyer.
One of the 7/7 bombers was a screamer, Hasib Hussain, the terrorist on the bus. He had been trying to reach his co-conspirators by cell-phone, a fairly pointless exercise after the agreed time for co-ordinated attacks had they really been suicide bombers. Clearly Hussain was not expecting to blow himself up and was rather annoyed to have discovered, in the final moments of his worthless existence, that he had done so. Tough.
The Second Bomber
It looks like there was a second bomber, inside the arena, who was spotted by an alert concert-goer, who was allowed media access in the 24-hour free commentary period. After 24 hours, the clamp comes down of course.
This second terrorist, a woman, was displaying classic signs of nervousness. She kept looking in the direction of the eventual explosion. I suspect the plan was for her to detonate a device inside the concert hall, causing thousands of concert-goers to flee towards Abedi’s device. My guess is that the Bad Guys were disappointed with an innocent death toll of ‘only’ 21. Very hard if you’re a grieving family member, of course, but 21 deaths is a lot better than 150.
The UK’s Response
Clearly the UK should escalate the Global War on Terror and step up attacks on ISIS, committing grounds troops in the Middle East. Idiots like Jeremy Corbyn, no offense intended (he’s quite a nice chap) who are calling for a retreat in the War on Terror are sending out precisely the wrong response.
The correct strategic response would be to declare war on Germany, but you need a Churchill to do that, and Theresa May is more of a Chamberlain, again no offense intended.
We should make it impossible for terrorists with a British passport traveling abroad to come back to this country. Depriving terrorists or those reasonably suspected of preparing to engage in acts of terrorism of British nationality is straightforward in the case of dual nationals like Abedi. He should have been stripped of his British nationality and deported to Libya.
Security in public places is going to have to be stepped up. Far more ex-military personnel should be employed as security officers. Security at the MEN Arena on Monday night was a joke – at least one terrorist, probably two, armed with viable IEDs were permitted to wander in without any effort about which we can be told to stop them. Personnel with military training and combat experience in the War on Terror would have been both more proficient and more alert. They should also be armed.
A statutory requirement for security guards at large venues to have military experience and firearms proficiency would be entirely reasonable. Above all, we must shut down GO2. To do that we have to stop pretending that the large and powerful Abwehr station in London was shut down in 1945. It was just renamed.
The deadly Cabinet Office grip on the Joint Intelligence Committee needs to be broken and the failed PREVENT strategy abandoned. The UK also needs to pull out of the 1951 Refugee Convention and the European Human Rights Convention. Abadi was only born here because his parents were granted asylum. The 21 innocents who died on Monday have further swelled the death-toll of the hopelessly outdated Refugee Convention.
Effect on the General Election
Theresa May had run into trouble before Monday. She makes policy by clique, rather than use her party’s machinery. Her Cabinet are also mostly house-trained and will tend to swallow any nonsense put in front of them, as long as it’s official nonsense.
Theresa lumbered herself with Phillip Hammond as Chancellor, who’s even more house-trained than the rest of the Cabinet. Hammond was clearly duped by Treasury officials into sneaking into the manifesto a disastrous and deeply unfair proposal on social care. The Treasury wants a Labour/LibDem/SNP coalition to keep Britain in the single market.
I have little doubt that Treasury officials tipped off Labour, who promptly labeled this silly proposal the ‘dementia tax’. Theresa May walked into this one and the Tory lead in the polls started to disappear. The latest YouGov poll has the lead down from over 20% to 5%. Not good, although YouGov are pro-European.
However, the overall impact of the attack is likely to favour the Tories, as Labour are soft on terrorism. Weak as she is, with respect, Theresa May is stronger than Jeremy Corbyn.
I still predict a Tory win, but I think you can forget a large majority. I foresee a lot of tactical voting, some LibDem gains in London, some Tory gains from Labour in the West Midlands and the SNP in Scotland and possibly a couple of seats for UKIP (Boston and Thurrock).
The Tories have fought a disastrous campaign, which was derailed by the social care blunder. The campaign was going so badly for them by Monday that some conspiracy theorists have suggested that Abedi was secretly working for the Tories! My guess is that Abedi voted Labour, if he voted at all.
Sir Roger Moore KBE 1927-2017
This week saw the sad passing of this great actor. I admired Roger Moore from the 1960s, when I first saw him in the classic TV show Ivanhoe. He went on to play the Saint, Lord Brett Sinclair in The Persuaders, alongside the late, great Tony Curtis and, most famously, James Bond.
He is still my favorite Bond. He played the role with style, humor and panache. I know the critics favor Sean Connery, but they would. Sir Roger Moore had far more charm!
Like myself (!) he was given to self-deprecation and excessive modesty. He always down played his acting talents, but they were considerable.
If you doubt me look at his performances in The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970), playing effectively two characters, each named Pelham. He drove a Rover 3.5 Liter with a registration number only four removed from one of mine (AVB902H from memory), which got my attention. I loved my 3.5 Liters – they were stately and comfortable automobiles, rarely seen in the States, sadly. Farewell, Sir Roger. You have left the scene far too soon.
Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone.
Michael Shrimpton was a barrister from his call to the Bar in London in 1983 until being disbarred in 2019 over a fraudulently obtained conviction. He is a specialist in National Security and Constitutional Law, Strategic Intelligence and Counter-terrorism. He is a former Adjunct Professor of Intelligence Studies at the American Military University.