Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

London tube explosions

So, what’s this “bang” on the tube all about then? Anyone got any clearer idea than “either a bomb or a big crash”? And does this count as Sod’s Law, coming the day after the Olympics announcement?

Update: BBC now reports “reports of an explosion”, and says Transport for London are saying it’s thanks to a power failure. Hmmm… “walking wounded” caused by a power failure?

Fuck: Explosions at Aldgate, Edgware Road, King’s Cross, Old Street and Russell Square.

Unconfirmed rumours of 30 dead.

Piss – Russell Square may have been on a bus.

10:05am – Right – I’m calling this – terrorist attack. Sky News seems to be the only site working. I’m trawling for eyewitnesses.

“I saw lots of people running up a road and then saw the top of a bus destroyed,” one eyewitness told Sky News.

LBC News radio is still reporting “power surges”, but also advising “get away from the City, but don’t use public transport”.

10:15 – Eyewitness reports of “half the bus in the air” at Russell Square. BBC news site down. Radio still confused.

10:20 – FTSE dropping 3%, Pound dropping vs. the dollar. Reports of “at least one explosive device on the Underground”. If you have TV access, ITV have rolling coverage, apparently.

10:24 – Scotland Yard confirm bus explosion on Tavistock Place nr Russell Square, and “multiple” explosions across London. Bus system shut down as well now. This is major.

10:26 – Rumours of two more bus explosions, plus suspect packages in litter bins.

10:33 – my mate who works in the City didn’t go to work today, so no confirmation yet on rumours that they’re evacuating the Square Mile.

10:36 – Reuters is down. Just before it went was reporting large areas of London being cordoned off. Apparently Sky News’ helicopter is being prevented from filming over Russell Square. Helicopters everywhere though. More reports of “three busses”.

More advice to “get out of the area”, but no indication of where “the area” is – it seems to be the whole of Zone One (where I am).

10:40 – Sky has more on the Bus “ripped in two”, plus

Bradley Anderson told Sky News that he was involved in the Edgware Road incident on a Circle line train.

He said: “We just left Paddington station. About 15 seconds later there was some kind of explosion and we collided with another train.

“We were heading into the station when there was some kind of explosion or something.

“Everything went black and we collided into some kind of oncoming train.

“There was debris all over the trains. They evacuated us.”

10:42 – Trains into London all halted. Marble Arch intersection (one of the busiest in central London for those who don’t know) has been closed. Roads being shut everywhere. Still no real news on casualties. No confirmation on anything other than the bus blast from official sources yet.

10:46 – bus was apparently a southbound 205, from Euston (big mainline/tube intersection) – “packed” with people evacuated from the tube. Reports of bodies at Edgeware Road.

10:47 – People being stretchered off at Aldgate.

10:49 – Home Secretary Charles “Safety Elephant” Clarke speaking at Downing Street. He has nothing of use to add. Surprise, surprise. Sounds worried, though.

10:51 – Upper Woburn Place bus bomb as well, apparently. This is all over. London Ambulance Service getting overloaded – all units concentrating on explosions. Web straining…

10:53 – “Scores reported dead”. Aldgate “pretty grim” according to a mate of a mate – loads of smoke. Here’s how it looks (via Sky):

10:55 – Metropolitan Police say they’d tell us more if they knew what the hell was going on. Tony Blair to address the nation shortly. I’m rather glad I cycled to work today…

Unconfirmed reports of “a number” of dead at Russell Square.

10:59 – my overlords have just realised the office is half empty and are trying to find out where everyone is. On the ball here…

11:02 – BBC World Service is back up

British Telecom are apparently going to shut down all phone lines soon, so I may go offline without warning.

Controlled explosions apparently expected at Russell Square soon.

11:04 – reports of a bus explosion at South Kensington. Three minutes’ walk away. Nice.

11:08 – Blair expected within half an hour from Gleneagles. THAT’ll help. Cheers Tone.

Haven’t seen a bus go by in half an hour or more. Everyone walking and looking a tad worried.

11:10 – eyewitness confirmation from a friend – the entire top of the bus in Russell Square has been ripped off. Packed with people evacuated from Euston. Cunning, abject bastards.

11:12 – Hearing rumours of Brighton and Swindon stations being hit as well. they’ve gone to the provinces. Fuck.

11:15 – The Guardian also liveblogging

11:17 –

11:18 – America’s waking up to the news

11:25 – The BBC have eyewitness stories: “The doors opened and as everyone was starting to get off, I saw a few lights starting to flicker overhead and then there was an explosion on the opposite side to me, just behind the train that had just pulled in.”

Now reports of 90 “casualties” from Aldgate East alone. Mostly stretchers, no idea how many dead.

11:32 – Photos. Reports of the army being deployed all over now. Quiet in Chelsea at the moment – bar the reports of a bomb on a bus up the road. Didn’t hear anything, but South Ken cordoned off apparently.

11:49 – just popped out for a fag. Busses are still running where I am after all. Rather them than me… Two bombs on my route home, so I guess I’m stuck here for a while. Internet still up. Comments section seems to be having updates as well if it cuts out.

11:51 – reports of “many” people with limbs missing arriving at hospitals.

11:53 – At King’s Cross, scene of one of the worst Underground disasters ever back in the late 1980s, people were using umbrellas to smash windows of the trains. 95 casualties and one confirmed fatality being reported from Aldgate East now.

11:58 – Email from an Israeli friend (Gaza strip) saying “Fuck”. Which says something… Blair expected in the next couple of minutes.

12:01 – 2 confirmed deaths now, via the Met Police. Certain to rise. Could be worse than Madrid.

12:02 – Blair – “It’s reasonably clear that there has been a series of terrorist attacks in London. It is my intention to leave the G8 to talk to police and emergency services personnel face to face… The G8 leaders will continue in my absence… Each of the countries around that table have some experience of terrorism… They all share our complete resolution for the defeat of terrorism. It is particularly barbaric that this has happened on the day people are meeting to try and help the problem of poverty in Africa… Just as it is reasonably clear that this is a terrorist attack… it is reasonably clear it has been timed to coincide with the opening of the G8… It is important, however, that the terrorists realise our determination to defend our values and our way of life is greater than their determination to cause the death and destruction of innocent people and impose their extremism on the world. It is our determination that they will never succeed in destroying what we have here in this country and in other civilised countries around the world.”

Looked and sounded shaken. Not surprising really.

12:06 – we may be getting moved away from the windows here shortly, as there’s a bus route outside, so I may be away from the computer. Will warn if so.

12:10 – via a Red Cross worker in the comments: “We have already deployed 10 ambulances in response to a request from the London Ambulance Service and another 14 are on standby across South Eastern Territory. Updates will be posted on RedRoom and the website.”

12:12 – bus explosion may have been a suicide bomber, according to reports.

12:15 – rumours of Al Quaida caim of responsibility. Well, they would, wouldn’t they? Twats.

12:20 – Tim Worstall has lots of links to more blog coverage if I get cut off.

12:25 – reports of trapped tube train at King’s Cross, major rescue operation underway. Phone networks pretty much all screwed. Official advice – stay where you are.

12:29 –

12:31 – in the comments, a report of another explosion – this time in Leicester Square. About half a mile from Downing Street.

12:34 – from the comments: ” Someone here at work has just been phoned by a guy he knows in Canary Wharf (I know, it’s a bit removed – but I trust him)

“He says marines have shot a man there who they think to have been a suicide bomber”

Workmate’s husband reports Cambridge Circus – slap bang in the heart of the West End – has been completely shut down. That’s just north of Leicester Square, so explosion report there may have been a controlled one.

12:37 – Leicester Square rumour is nonsense.

12:42 – Soho seems to have been cordoned off to act as Army HQ. Have heard nothing from my mate who works for Sony there.

12:47 – South Kensington may just be a suspect package. Canary Wharf apparently calm – shooting rumour may be jus that – there’s a lot of it about.

12:52 – Military are apparently denying all rumours they’re involved. Purely a civilian thing – at the moment.

12:53 – Robin grant also liveblogging

12:54 – Charles Clarke statement in House of Commons: “Metropolitan Police are in operational command… The Underground is closed and will remain so for some time… There are no busses in central London… Airports are operating normally… The Prime Minister is returning to London.”

12:58 – When the site’s working, the BBC’s coverage is pretty good – fewer sensationalist attempts at scoops, more facts. For a kind of BBC liveblog, try here.

13:01 – God, us Brits are great. Hardly any panic – more just getting pissed off that it’s going to be a bugger getting home. I love this country sometimes.

13:04 From the comments, via Justin, the supposed Al Quaida statement:

Jamaat al-Tandheem Al-Sierri (secret organization group)
Organization of Qaeda’t al-Jihad in Europe

In the name of God the most merciful…

Rejoice the nation of Islam, rejoice nation of Arabs, the time of revenge has come for the crusaders’ Zionist British government.

As retaliation for the massacres which the British commit in Iraq and Afghanistan, the mujahideen have successfully done it this time in London.

And this is Britain now burning from fear and panic from the north to the south, from the east to the west.

We have warned the brutish governments and British nation many times.

And here we are, we have done what we have promised. We have done a military operation after heavy work and planning, which the mujahideen have done, and it has taken a long time to ensure the success of this operation.

And we still warn the government of Denmark and Italy, all the crusader governments, that they will have the same punishment if they do not pull their forces out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

So beware.

Thursday 7/7/2005
Jamaat al-Tandheem Al-Sierri (secret organization group)
Organization of al Qaeda’t al-Jihad in Europe.

13:12 – From Tim Worstall’s comments section, “Bart from Kansas” earns my “insensitive cunt of the day” award. From the comments here, “Roger” earns the “stupid fucking reaction of the day” award. Yeah – let’s burn some mosques, Roger. Fucking GENIUS. Moron.

13:17 – from the comments, reports that Soho is NOT closed off. All normal.

13:18 – FTSE down 115. Traders being asked to calm the fuck down. Everyone else relaxed.

13:27 – Wikipedia’s got loads. And some good analysis via email from Daniel Johnson:

A brief summation of where we seem to stand based on my attempt at rational thought:

First of all; it seems the new channels, in particular the BBC are reluctant to get involved here.. the BBC didn’t even broadcast Tony Blair’s 1pm statement with the G8 leaders. Blair, Hoon, Davis, the police etc seem to be focusing their energy on the PR front to comforting British residents. Our TV screens are filled with calm police officers offering directions and people calmly going about their business. We’re not being told anything.

The mujahideen have accepted responsibility – a claim which I don’t think holds weight at the moment.. it was inevitable that some small Far Eastern group would.. I’d wait for police reports and word from the government on this.

It also appears that nothing has actually happened since 11am. There are rumours of packages in Tottenham Court Road, the Royal Bank of Scotland hiding their staff in a basement, Soho being used as an Army base, explosions on the M25 (a weird one). Not wishing to tempt fate, but it seems quite possible that all of these could be rumours, much like the planes that were headed into Canary Wharf and Westminster on 9/11 – Somewhere between panick and misplaced excitement comes a million different rumours.

However there does seem to be a bit of a paradoxical thing happening. The broadcasters are holding back – reluctant to report news and instead focusing on reporting on the good work of the emergency services (from eye witness accounts and personally talking to people on the phone, the services are doing a great job and we should be incredibly proud). So they’re very calm- but the public is spinning the rumour mill.. before long I’m sure we’ll get IRA rumours, G8 rebels, etc- we should take comfort in the fact that the leaders of the free world are all together in a room, our emergency services are doing an amazing job – and the majority of scare-mongering rumours appear to be just that.

I’m off for some lunch (and a soothing pint) – back shortly.

14:05 – I tell you what, if this is an “Islamic” terrorist attack, they’re doing a piss-poor job. The pubs are all packed out, people sipping their pints happily, all a tad pissed off, but basically fine with it. Nice one, Al Quaeda – you profess to be from a teetotal religion, and you’ve given the pub trade a massive mid-week boost. Result.

14:12 – update on the “insensitive cunt of the day” award – a new winner – Mike from New York, in the comments to this post. What a twat. I’d kiindly suggest, Mike old bean, that you go fuck yourself.

14:17 – and, for the record, the anonymous comments purporting to be from celebrating Muslims appear to be coming from the same computer as that from which Mike was posting. Nice one, Mike, you tit.

14:21 – bomb in Tavistock Square bus in the upper back of the thing. Met Police refuse to confirm it was a suicide attack. Fucked-up pictures fo the damage here and here. Christ…

14:28 – I’ve still only heard 45 dead tops (via the untrustworthy/sensationalist Sky – BBC’s last report I heard was 24). Lots more injured, but reports from hospitals suggest that despite earlier reports most are walking wounded. Could be a surprisingly low body count.

14:40 – more, from the comments and Guardian Newsblog – “Ambulance sources suggest 23 people have been killed at King’s Cross, nine at Edgware road, seven at Aldgate, two at Russell Square. There are hundreds – possibly more than a thousand – injured.”

14:42 – Slideshow of images. Worrying viewing – especially if you know and love this city well. But, at least in terms of death toll, so far we seem to have got off lightly.

14:53 – It all seems to have calmed down. For more blog coverage, check out the Kinja digest someone’s set up.

14:58 – Victoria, Paddington and Euston stations have re-opened. Looks like King’s Cross will be shut for a while.

15:05 – Now that it’s calm, people are starting to head home… Not entirely sure what route I can take considering I go via South Kensington and Edgeware Road, but still – the joys of a bike, eh? Sidestreets and ignoring one-way systems ahoy!

15:12 – the people who were trapped underground at King’s Cross are apparently just getting out now. No reports on any casualties. But that’s six hours stuck down there. Bloody hell.

15:13 – King’s Cross apparently to reopen for overland suburban services soon.

15:33 – Bus services beginning to return to central London, bar the King’s Cross, Russell Square and Aldgate areas. Will be slow and crappy (no change there then…), with extra police etc. to help with directions and travel advice.

15:35 – Met Police press conference: casualty bureau has a technical fault, so no one has any ideas on numbers.

“At the moment we don’t know if this was suicide bombers or just packages left… There is no indication that these were anything other than conventional explosives, but we have no indication of the size or type of device… [CCTV] has been one of our first priorities, as has collecting forensic evidence”

No people are left trapped underground.

“Almost all the system was cleared within an hour… We don’t have any information [about bus bomb fatalities]… The security level in London has been high over recent months. We have had all the security services actively engaged in antiterrorism activities during this period… We are content that the security level was appropriate even not withstanding the fact that G8 was happening in Scotland.”

15:40 – ctd: “We have 11,000 Metropolitan Police Officers on duty in Scotland and 31,000 in London. We have more than enough to cope… we won’t be bringing any back [from g8]… London has always been a terrorist target, and we are clearly shocked by what has happened today, but we are not surprised… we have spent years rehearsing and planning for this scenario… that plan has worked exactly as it should have done”

15:42 – “we don’t have any intelligence about any other devices… but we are making sure that the public transport system is thoroughly searched before opening for business”

15:45 – ctd: “As far as I am concerned, ‘Islamic’ and ‘terrorism’ do not go together… we have received no claims as to who is responsible, so it is too early to speculate.”

“We have no reports of a police sniper shooting anybody today… We understand that a group claiming to be linked to Al Quaida have claimed responsibility on the internet, which we will be investigating, but we have no evidence yet that that is the case.”

Reports of Heathrow Terminal 3 being evacuated (not via the news conference though).

15:49 – ctd: “We had no warning from any organisation”

“During rush hour we would be running 500 trains… around 600-900 people on them”

“We move around 3 million people a day”

15:51 – ctd: “People didn’t panic… people just got on with it… I was impressed with just how calm people were in very, very traumatic circumstances”

We Brits rule.

16:01 – Casualty bureau is up and running – number is 0870 156 6344 – but try family and friends first to prevent overload.

16:05 – official figure is at least 33 dead.

16:15 – I’m going to follow police advice and head home. Should be back online in c.30-45 minutes, depending on road closures. I’ll take the camera, but am going to try and avoid the affected areas as much as possible…

17:00 – back home. Lots of police sirens, little else. As normal. Brits rule.

An observation:

Liverpool St/Aldgate East/Moorgate was all the same incident.
– this is near Brick Lane, with a sizable Bangladeshi/Muslim community.

Edgeware Road
– the heart of a major Arab/Muslim community

King’s Cross/Russell Square and Woburn Place
– by the King’s Cross Estate, with a sizable Bangladeshi/Muslim community, plus the School of Oriental and African Studies, one of the world’s leading universities for the study of Islam (amongst others)

Was this intended to stir up anti-Muslim tension as much as anything? Otherwise the locations are rather bizarre – King’s Cross and Liverpool Street, as major rail termini, make sense if you intend to cause maximum damage/casualties. Edgeware Road is near Paddington, another major station, so that could make sense too. But nothing at Charing Cross, Victoria, Waterloo etc. Nothing at Heathrow or Gatwick either. Odd. Why go for half measures?

Either way, from the casualties so far we’ve got off lightly. Seems like fluke as much as anything.

17:21 – That bus really doesn’t look good. Official casualties from all blasts is still only 33 though:

Shadow Home Secretary (and Tory leadership frontrunner) David Davis on BBC News points out that Identity Cards “don’t prevent this sort of thing”. Considering there was no warning, the police kept warning levels the same as they have been for a month, and no one yet know who was responsible (despite claims), he’s got a very good point.

17:30 – Blair statement – “I’ve just attended a meeting of the government’s emergency committee… there will be announcements as soon as possible… there will of course now be the most intense police and emergency service action to make sure we bring those responsible to justice. I would also like to pay tribute to the stoicism and resilience of the people of London, who have responded in a way that is typical of them… {The terrorists] are trying to use the slaughter of innocent people to cow us, to stop us from doing what we want to do… the should not and will not succeed… When they try to intimidate us they will not intimidate us. When they try to change our way of life it will not be changed. WHen they try to divide us they will not succeed and our resolve will hold firm… Our values will long outlast theirs. The purpose of terrorism is to terrorise people. And we will not be terrorised… THis is a very sad day for the British people, but we will hold true to the British way of life.”

17:43 – a message to our sensible American friends (and others from around the world), many of whom are posting in the comments:

Cheers for the messages of support. London’s grateful. And we’re going to keep our heads. Stiff upper lip and all that – wouldn’t do to get all emotional. Hardly British – and if we stop being British about it, the bastards have won. So we’ll have a few beers, make as many sick jokes about it in pubs up and down the land as we can, and get on with our lives as normal. Other than causing the grief of too many innocent people, these cunts will have achieved precisely fuck all. We shall not be moved.

17:59 – I’d missed this – Eyewitness blogger account of the Edgeware blast.

18:10 – Police report – 37 confirmed dead, including two from the bus. 700 casualties total, “a number” in a severe condition, but “many” got to hospitals by themselves – so total is likely to rise, but no one knows by how much.

18:35 – Just heard that my Sharpener blog buddy Andrew was on the train behind the one hit at Liverpool Street, but is fine – and on his usual form:

“to the terrorist cunts who tried to kill me today:

“Fuck you. You missed me. Better luck next time.”

18:57 – Nice, BBC News special report cuts away to a weather report. Britain, as I believe I may have said a few times today, rules.

19:07 – discussions are underway for a “Fuck you, terrorist dicks” protest/show of solidarity, Madrid style, this weekend. I’ll let you know more when we’ve finalised something.

Trains are running out of London from King’s Cross and St Pancras. 4 trains an hour from Euston. Near normal service at Liverpool Street. Limited services at Paddington. 2 per hour London Bridge to Brighton. Near normal services at Charing Cross, Blackfriars, Marylebone, Victoria, Fenchurch Street (though the latter’s worth avoiding).

Busses up and running, but major delays – many roads still closed. Gray’s Inn, Caledonian, East Smithfield, Commercial Road, all approaches to Aldgate, M25 and M4 out of London are packed.

You can get home, if you’ve been waiting, but it may take a while.

19:16 – Just had an email request for details of how to give charity donations to help the victims. Nothing that I’ve heard of so far. I’d say give it to Oxfam or Make Poverty History – Londoners are fairly well-off. Bunk it to people who matter – the African buggers who were meant to be getting helped out at G8 today. The terrorist bastards have screwed them over more than they have us.

20:14 – Just spoke to my grandmother, a nurse in London throughout the Blitz. Though naturally worried about her grandson being in one of the prime targets, she’s living proof that London has coped with worse than this. We refuse to give in to this sort of thing.

20:51 – Only just found this, but spot on.

21:46 – reports of seven people in intensive care in one London hospital – could be unconscious for days or weeks. Few reports of life-threatening injuries, many reports of lost limbs and emergency amputations.

22:00 – Third Avenue has a good world press roundup, while Yes But No But Yes rounds up blog reactions.

22:31 – The BBC, after a few splutters when the news site went down this morning, is doing brilliantly. Meanwhile, The Guardian has a handy reminder of why we’re used to this shit. And here, for those who care, is an old post explaining why I’m used to this shit.

22:41 – The BBC’s London radio station will be broadcasting throughout the night. Should have travel info for those of us trying to get to work tomorrow. The Beeb’s London site also has more pictures.

23:20 – Nearly time for bed. All I ask is that we don’t forget the others who have died today, from whom those bastard terrorists managed to distract our attention.

Find out more and donate
– don’t let a bunch of psychos distract us from what really matters.

Thursday morning update from the Met Police (update: actually, it’s Friday, isn’t it? Lost track there somewhere…): 700 casualties, of which 350 were minor. 350 were taken to hospital, of which 100 were kept overnight, of which 22 are in a critical condition.

There are over 50 dead that they know of. There will be more, but thanks to the nature of the blasts on the bus and between Russell Square and King’s Cross, it’s difficult to count the bodies.

Final update: Sign up to the pledge to join a fuck you, terrorist dicks protest.