More death in London, fear in New York

Another attempted multiple simultaneous bombing on the London transit system, which fortunately seems to have failed--but not without sparking another death on the Underground, this time at the hands of the police. (Remember when London "bobbies" famously didn't carry guns?) And now police are conducting random searches on the New York subways. (NYT, July 22) A press release from the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) protests the policy as unconstitutional (thank goodness!), but doesn't say they will challenge it in court. From TruthOut:

Police Shoot Man in London Subway a Day after Bomb Attempts
By Alan Cowell
The New York Times

Friday 22 July 2005

London - One day after four attempted bombings on London's transport system, police officers fatally shot a man at a subway station today, authorities said.

A witness told the BBC the man had been pursued by plain clothes police offers who fired five shots at close range.

A police statement, carried by the Press Association news agency, said: "We can confirm that just after 10 a.m. armed officers entered Stockwell Tube station. A man was challenged by officers and subsequently shot. London Ambulance Service attended the scene. He was pronounced dead at the scene."

The shooting deepened a sense of nervousness, anger and uncertainty in the city after two days of bomb attacks the first on July 7, when 56 people died including four suspected bombers, and the second on Thursday, just two weeks later.

The police did not confirm television reports that the dead man was suspected of being one of the assailants who attempted to set off explosives on three subway trains and a double-decker bus on Wednesday.

A passenger at Stockwell station, Briony Coetsee, told the Press Association: "We were on the tube when we suddenly heard someone say "get out, get out" and then we heard gunshots someone was shooting."

Other witnesses said a man leaped over the barriers at the station pursued by plainclothes officers. Several witnesses said police caught up with the man and pushed him to the ground. Police did not immediately offer a detailed account.

Stockwell station is in the same area south of the Thames River as Oval station, one of the targets of Thursday's attacks.

Two subway lines the Victoria and Northern lines were suspended after the shooting, plunging London's transport system once more into chaos.

During Thursday's attacks, assailants with explosives struck at three subway trains and a double-decker bus, but the bombs failed to explode, and no one was hurt.

The lunchtime attacks, were "pretty close to simultaneous," said Sir Ian Blair, the chief of the Metropolitan Police.

Senior police officials and witnesses reported that after the bombs had failed to detonate, the bombers then abandoned their backpacks and fled from the scene. The officials said it was only the detonators on the devices that went off, making sounds like firecrackers. The unexploded devices could provide important clues to the identity of the attackers; two British officials said they believed the explosives contained the same materials as the earlier bombs.

No one was wounded, officials said, though one person sought treatment for an asthma attack. "The intention must have been to kill," Sir Ian said, "and I think the important point is that the intention of the terrorists has not been fulfilled."

See our last posts on London and New York.

Inconvenient truth

By the way, I know we're not supposed to talk about this, but the last time there was bomb on the New York subways (in the prelude to last summer's Republican Convention protests), it turned out to have been planted by a cop. From the Daily News, Aug. 1, 2004:

Pipe-bomb 'hero' cop arrested
Say he planted device


An ex-transit cop injured when a pipe bomb exploded in a crowded Manhattan subway station was arrested yesterday and charged with planting the crude device.

Joseph Rodriguez was with his family and lawyer after detectives arranged to arrest him just before 10 a.m. at the psychiatric ward of Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, police said.

Rodriguez, 27, had checked himself in for evaluation two days after the July 19 explosion.

A warrant issued by the Manhattan district attorney's office yesterday charged him with arson, criminal possession of a weapon and reckless endangerment.


Rodriguez was originally hailed as a hero for steering people away from the bomb that went off in the station at W. 43rd St. and Eighth Ave. during his second-to-last day on the job.

But less than 24 hours later, he fell under suspicion based on his troubled psychological history and his failure to call for backup. Rodriguez was arrested based on numerous inconsistencies in the story he told investigators, a law enforcement source said yesterday...

More inconvenient truth

And now it turns out the man shot dead in the Underground was not even connected to any terror attacks. From Ireland Online:

Man shot was not linked to London terror attacks
23/07/2005 - 17:45:46

The man shot dead by police in south London yesterday is not connected to attempted terror attacks on the capital, Scotland Yard said today.

“For somebody to lose their life in such circumstances is a tragedy and one that the Metropolitan Police Service regrets,

One more inconvenient truth

An appalling New York Times story July 22, "It's Time for Tougher Scrutiny, Many Subway Riders Concede," quoted only riders who did in fact concede to the new random-search policy. The only word of dissent came from a longtime city activist for better subway service:

Gene Russianoff, a lawyer at the New York Public Interest Research Group, said searches would invade people's privacy. "We'll see what riders think," he said. "I think you have the same odds of protecting people through random searches as you do of winning the Lotto."

In the following day's Times, an even more appalling letter to the editor actually managed to twist Russianoff's words of dissent into an open call for ethnic profiling:

When Gene Russianoff...said that "you have the same odds of protecting people through random searches as you do of winning the Lotto," he was quite correct. The chances of any given subway passenger who is picked at random being a terrorist are microscopically small, as are the chance of a terrorist being picked for a random search. Logically, therefore, any serious effort to prevent further Islamist attacks in subways will have to involve some common-sense profiling. If you want to hunt ducks, you have to go where the ducks are.

Harris Abrams, Holland, Pa.

Do us a favor and stay in Holland, Mr. Abrams. Seems to us the last time there was a conspiracy for a terrorist attack on the New York subways it didn't come from Muslims, but from a neo-Nazi redneck named Larrry Wayne Harris who planned to kill hundreds of thousands by unleashing bubonic plague toxins. White, portly and bushy-bearded, he probably didn't look too different from the good ol' boys of Holland, PA. So a fat lot of good your "common-sense profiling" would've done in his case. (See Las Vegas Sun, Feb. 23, 1998)

Details emerge

From BBC, July 23:

Shot man not connected to bombing

A man shot dead by police hunting the bombers behind Thursday's London attacks was a Brazilian electrician unconnected to the incidents. The man, who died at Stockwell Tube on Friday, has been named by police as Jean Charles de Menezes, 27.

Two other men have been arrested and are being questioned after bombers targeted three Tube trains and a bus. Police also said a suspect package found in north-west London on Saturday may be linked to Thursday's attacks.


Scotland Yard said Mr Menezes, who lived in Brixton, south London, was completely unconnected to the bomb attacks and added: "For somebody to lose their life in such circumstances is a tragedy and one that the Metropolitan Police Service regrets."

The Brazilian government has expressed its shock at the killing and Brazil's foreign minister Celso Amorim is on his way to London to get an explanation from foreign secretary Jack Straw.

In a statement the government said it "looks forward to receiving the necessary explanation from the British authorities on the circumstances which led to this tragedy".

The shooting is being investigated by officers from Scotland Yard's Directorate of Professional Standards, and will be referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

The family of Mr Menezes told the Brazilian media there was nothing in his past which would give him a reason to run from police.