Saturday, June 30, 2007

Al Qaeda Fails Again

At least I think we can safely assume it’s Al Qaeda, but it could be any terrorist group working in the United Kingdom.

A green SUV, thought to be a Jeep Cherokee, raced at high speed toward the main entrance of the central terminal building at Glasgow International Airport in Glasgow, Scotland. It didn’t penetrate the entrance and the fire brigade is on scene to keep the resulting fire under control. It appears that only the vehicle and the immediate building are involved.

People inside the building were moved to a car park on the opposite side of the terminal building. Planes that have landed have not disembarked will be keeping the passengers on board until further notice. There will be a lot of disgruntled passengers, but they are safer on board than they would be until the police have the situation under complete control and can guarantee their safe departure from the airport.

Apparently, the driver bailed out of the Jeep. His clothing was on fire and he was barefoot. He attempted to get into the boot (trunk to us), but was tackled by either (or both) the police, taxi drivers at a nearby taxi stand, and passersby. He’s currently being treated at a Paisley hospital. I’m now hearing that a second man was in the vehicle and has been arrested.

Both men under arrest are described as Asian. In the UK, “Asian” refers to Pakistani and Indians. Of course, here in the US, “Asian” refers to those from west Asian, such as China and Japan. Those from Pakistan and India would be Mid-Eastern rather than Asian.

I’ve been surfing between the Fox, CNN, and MSNBC news networks listening to the various reports. Eyewitnesses have given interviews to local reporters (and I absolutely love hearing the Scots brogue). In the day of the camera phone news outlets no longer miss much of what happens before they arrive and get their cameras set up. I’ve heard people using camera phones referred to as “citizen reporters”. We’ve also seen shots from surveillance cameras, which are ubiquitous in the UK. And I’m not sure that it’s a bad idea for Big Brother to be watching; at least in very public areas like airports and busy streets. Perhaps it's something we must consider here in the US.

Busy streets reminds me of the other failed terrorist act. Two vehicles (Mercedes stolen from Scotland, interestingly enough) loaded with petrol (gas to you and me), propane tanks (Hank Hill would be appalled at this misuse of his precious Lady Propane), and nails. One car was seen and reported to police as smoking. It was investigated and eventually towed to be safely defused. I’m a bit hazy about the second vehicle; it apparently was discovered and towed for defusing before it had a chance to explode. This incident occurred in front of or near a popular nightclub called Tyger-Tyger. This is a popular nightclub and shopping district and the casualties could have been tremendous. Suspects have been identified and are being sought.

London and Glasgow authorities are to be commended for recognizing this as a terrorist act and acting upon it. Other airports and the whole of the UK are now on heightened alert.

Despite these terrorist acts and the heightened alert levels, the Brits are going about their lives. Like Americans after 9/11, they say that life must go on. They will be alert, they will be viligent, but they will not allow terrorists to disrupt their lives.

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