Why did police drop claim a bomb wasn’t terrorism?


4:45 pm - June 27th 2013

by Sunny Hundal    


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On Friday 21st June, a bomb went off outside a mosque in Walsall, West Midlands. Fortunately no one was hurt and there was no property damage.

Nevertheless, almost 150 people in 40 homes near the scene were evacuated as a “precautionary and temporary” measure, as bomb disposal experts were called to the mosque. Residents reported hearing a loud bang when the bomb went off.

The story was reported in the news on Sunday and the police immediately said it was not an act of terrorism.

A statement by Assistant Chief Constable Sharon Rowe from West Midlands police said:

Specialist investigators have been working all day and continue to ensure that we maximise every opportunity from the crime scene.

At this stage we are keeping an open mind on a motive. There is no evidence or intelligence to suggest that this is an act of terrorism.

But given the recent spate of attacks on Muslims, it was bizarre the police ruled out terrorism as a motive so early.

What did the police think was the motive other than to harm people? Spread love?

But it gets more bizarre.

West Midlands police have now quietly deleted that quote saying there was no evidence to suggest it was terrorism.

There isn’t a note or even a tweet to point this out – they just deleted that bolded line above. It is missing from the page.

So why have the police now backtracked from the original claim? And why did they rule out terrorism so quickly very early on?

(hat-tip @AssedBaig)

UPDATE: Assed tells me he asked the police to justify their decision:

They told me that they deleted the sentence after an ‘internal discussion’ and it was ‘detracting from the overall witness appeal’. They also told me that there had been considerable discussion online (I assume they mean twitter).

They maintained that they still don’t know whether it is or is not terrorism, but they have just removed the sentence. I’ve also spoken to a source from within the Muslim community that has been liaising with the police that told me that there was considerable pressure from him and others to get this sorted.

West Midlands Police have now arrested a man in connection with the bomb-attack.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


1. Suburban Tory

The Police say they are “keeping an open mind on a motive”.
Seems sensible to me.

Have you any evidence or information to suggest that it was an act of terrorism?

2. Suburban Tory

Your sometime contributor Tim Fentonwrote following the Boston Bombing.

Recent terrorist atrocities have taught us one thing, and that is not to rush to judgment…..it’s most likely that these bombs were nothing to do with Islamists….But I won’t go any further. Because we shouldn’t rush to judgment.

Of course he was wrong but you get my point.

3. Planeshift

“Have you any evidence or information to suggest that it was an act of terrorism?”

Yes. A bomb was planted.

That somewhat narrows down the culprits to; (1) Terrorist groups, (2) a state declaring war on us, and (3) a demolition company that had the wrong building.

4. Suburban Tory

Planeshift

(4) Kids messing about.

Well said sub tory

6. Suburban Tory

Assed Baig tweets “what do you have to do to get an act considered as terrorism? Be Muslim, shout “Allahu Akbar”?

However, Major Nidal Hasan shot and killed thirteen people at Fort Hood while shouting “Allahu Akbar”. The Department of Defense has classified the case not as an act of terrorism but as “Workplace Violence”.

But the facts don’t matter when you are keen to feed the Muslim victimhood narrative we have seen since 9/11. Do they?

A decision by a man to kill work colleagues rather different than a bomb planted at a mosque to specifically cause harm to people from a community.

Your desperation knows no bounds Suburban tory.

8. Suburban Tory

Fort Hood – 13 dead.

Walsall Mosque – no one hurt.

Yes. Rather different.

Anyway you will be pleased to know that the Police have arrested a 75 year old man in relation to the Walsall incident.

9. Shatterface

A decision by a man to kill work colleagues rather different than a bomb planted at a mosque to specifically cause harm to people from a community.

It was probably a ‘random’ decision.

Anyway you will be pleased to know that the Police have arrested a 75 year old man in relation to the Walsall incident..

Ah, knew those Gray Panthers were up to no good.

Oh my word

11. Shatterface

Witnesses say that the device exploded outside the perimeter building on Friday night but not realising the significance of the “loud bang”, they did not report the matter to police. It was only when a well meaning member of the public recovered the debris and brought it inside the mosque the following day were police contacted.

Nope, can’t understand why police didn’t instantly recognise this incident as terrorism.

“A decision by a man to kill work colleagues rather different than a bomb planted at a mosque to specifically cause harm to people from a community.”

Specifically causing harm isn’t itself an act of terrorism. It depends on the motivation. If they were trying to put pressure on the government then it probably was an act of terrorism. However, there is no evidence of that yet.

13. Suburban Tory

Sunny

Alleged mass murderer Hasan was an admirer of Anwar Al-Awlaki, something he shared with your fellow progressive and vice chair of UAF, Azad Ali.

Of course Al-Awlaki is no longer with us having been killed in a drone strike ordered by the man you helped elect.

That must have been troubling for you.

By the way, the bomb wasn’t planted in a mosque. It was placed in an alleyway, and is believed to have gone off during the night. The remains of the device were then discovered and taken into the mosque.
It was an alleyphobic incident.

15. So Much For Subtlety

The story was reported in the news on Sunday and the police immediately said it was not an act of terrorism.

A statement by Assistant Chief Constable Sharon Rowe from West Midlands police said:

At this stage we are keeping an open mind on a motive. There is no evidence or intelligence to suggest that this is an act of terrorism.

Notice that keeping an open mind and admitting there is no evidence that it is terrorism is NOT the same as saying it is not an act of terrorism. The latter is a positive statement. The former is a statement about a lack of evidence. You cannot confuse the two. If the police have no evidence it is an act of terrorism they should not call it an act of terrorism. But they should keep an open mind so that if evidence does appear, they can call it what it is.

But given the recent spate of attacks on Muslims, it was bizarre the police ruled out terrorism as a motive so early.

There has been no recent spate of attacks on Muslims, but again notice that the police did not rule out terrorism as a motive. They said they have no evidence it was terrorism.

What did the police think was the motive other than to harm people? Spread love?

Young boys fooling around? Practice for an attack on White people? Insurance fraud? There are any number of reasons why what looks like a small pile of firecrackers placed in an alley somewhat near a mosque might have been set off that have nothing to do with terrorism.

And why did they rule out terrorism so quickly very early on?

They didn’t. This is not a difficult concept to grasp. Basic high school English.

16. Dixiemink

Ummm- maybe the lockdown on the story is because the perp was not who they expected him to be?

17. imrankhan

You are beginning to look silly Sunny by looking for an anti Muslim bias in everything. If you carry on at this rate you will become the ongoing joke that is Bob Pitt over at Islamophobia Watch.

As far as I know there is no criminal offence called terrorism. People have in the past been charged with a variety of offences but not terrorism.

If the West Midlands Police have some king of anti Muslim bias it is a bit strange that they have arrested someone after an investigation. I am not saying the man is guilty of anything but they do seem to be on the case.

Good grief, where to start?

How about by following that link to the story about the arrest of a man in connection with the incident:

“A MAN arrested in connection with a home-made explosive found near a Walsall mosque continues to be questioned by detectives from West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit this morning (Friday 28 June)… The arrest comes as part of a major investigation by specialist detectives and experts from the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit.”

It seems a little odd, doesn’t it, that the Counter Terrorism Unit should be involved in the investigation of a crime for which terrorism has been ruled out as a motive?

Why, it’s almost as if terrorism *hasn’t* been ruled out and this whole ‘controversy’ has been whipped up out of a wilful misreading of the police’s position.

It’s flatly false that “the police immediately said it was *not* an act of terrorism”. What they said was “There is no evidence or intelligence to suggest that this *is* an act of terrorism”. If that distinction is too subtle for you, how about the explicit statement that they were “keeping an open mind on a motive”. Oh, and: “Until we know a motive only then will we know if it was an act of terrorism,” which makes no sense if terrorism has been ruled out.

All the police were trying to do, I imagine, was stop people jumping to conclusions that might have caused unnecessary fear and alarm and possibly stirred up tensions in the community. That’s fair enough, isn’t it? Don’t they routinely try to stop rumours getting out of hand – with potentially dire consequences – by making statements like this? (“There’s no evidence the killings are connected”, “there’s no evidence the crime was sexually/racially/religiously motivated”, “there’s no evidence anyone else was involved”.) It doesn’t mean they aren’t investigating every possibility behind the scenes.

As for this:

“What did the police think was the motive other than to harm people?”

So every crime that is motivated by a desire to harm people is a terrorist attack? What?

You seem to be taking a position that is a mirror image of the position you falsely ascribe to the police: i.e. ruling out the possibility that this was *not* a terrorist attack. The fact is, we don’t know yet whether it was or not. Even if we’re prepared to jump to the conclusion that this was a hate crime, it *still* wouldn’t follow that it was a terrorist incident any more than the Stephen Lawrence murder, say, was a terrorist incident. We need to wait and see if the bomber is linking his attack to political demands, if he sees it as part of a campaign of violence to pursue ideological ends through terror, if he claims affiliation to any paramilitary groups, etc.

“given the recent spate of attacks on Muslims”

Supposed. If we exclude Tell Mama’s ranking of increased “Islamophobic” comments on the internet and some funny looks what we have are a few suspicious incidents for whom hardly anyone has been arrested, let alone convicted. These seem just as likely to be the work of Lefties/ Muslim extremists desperate to whip up some actual evidence for the prejudice they’re always going on and on and on about.

I’m sure if they finally get to covict some sad nutter it will be leaped on as proof of a vast “Islamophooobic” conspiracy but there’s absolutely no denying that the violence of Muslim extremists against the British people dwarfs any response. Just count the convictions.

It is a testament to the tolerance and sophistication of the British people that there has been so little reaction to the loathing directed against them by this vocal minority but you won’t read that on LC…

“A decision by a man to kill work colleagues rather different than a bomb planted at a mosque to specifically cause harm to people from a community.”

Are you seriously trying to tell us that Hassan’s spree was not terrorism?

Then why woudl he make the following claim:

“Hasan, who’s representing himself, has said the shootings were a premeditated “defense of others” to safeguard Mullah Mohammed Omar and other Taliban leaders in Afghanistan from attacks by the U.S. military.”

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/06/14/18960053-fort-hood-gunman-nidal-hasan-banned-from-arguing-he-was-defending-the-taliban?lite

21. Man on the Clapham Omnibus

4. Suburban Tory

Iraq War – Boys just messin’ about.

22. Man on the Clapham Omnibus

20. Lamia

How are you defining terrorism? Killing people for political motives surely isnt a satisfactory definition because that would include all fighting forces except for mercenaries.

This post is a bit silly.

The police evidently didn’t claim that the “Walsall bomb wasn’t terrorism,” so they can’t really be said to have then deleted it, as if they had something to hide or be ashamed of. What they said was that they won’t know if it was terrorism until they uncover the motive.

#22

I take your point, but what I was chiefly responding to was this daft and disingeuous characterisation by Sunny, who was most certianly not making the point you are making:

“A decision by a man to kill work colleagues”

Which is to try to empty it of any ideological motivation or significance, when the religious-political motivation is blatant.

Yesterday we had the similarly grotesque description in an article of Lee Rigby’s murder being ‘random’.

It seems as if LC’s answer to the problem of Islamically-inspired violence is simply to pretend it’s not Islamically inspired/religiously-motivated at all, even when those carrying out the violence are quoting Islamic verses.

By contrast he has no problem seeing any attack on Muslims as being ideologically motivated by the fact that they are Muslims. Which will often be the case, but not always, and not always self-evidently

But to characterise the Walsall bomb as ‘a decision by a man to place an explosive device next to a building,’ would be a sneering trivialisation that anyone reasonable would object to – yet that’s precisely what Sunny has equivalently offered with regard to Hasan’s murder spree.

25. Just Visiting

Spot on Lamia -you have Sunny in a nutshell:

> It seems as if LC’s answer to the problem of Islamically-inspired violence is simply to pretend it’s not Islamically inspired/religiously-motivated at all, even when those carrying out the violence are quoting Islamic verses.

@4

“(4) Kids messing about”.

That’s wishful thinking.

@17

“You are beginning to look silly Sunny by looking for an anti Muslim bias in everything. If you carry on at this rate you will become the ongoing joke that is Bob Pitt over at Islamophobia Watch”.

How ironic that this is written by a poster who uses an Islamic name. Anyone would think… nah, surely not.

“How ironic that this is written by a poster who uses an Islamic name. Anyone would think… nah, surely not.”

It is an ancient Greek name from classical myth, not the property or invention of Islam, you ignoramus.

29. man on Clapham Omnibus

24. Lamia

Agreed. I think its important to recognise though, the possibility that the smucks on either side of the divide are all being played by bigger forces. Whist a few clutch their holy books some multnationals are planning where they can drill while western forces create the optimal political backdrop.

30. the a&e charge nurse

[29] ‘I think its important to recognise though, the possibility that the smucks on either side of the divide are all being played by bigger forces. Whist a few clutch their holy books some multnationals are planning where they can drill while western forces create the optimal political backdrop’ – very true, without oil the west will soon be in deep do do.

The big conflicts that are coming will be conflicts driven by a fight for resources.

@ #29 and #30

Well, I am not sure we are in much agreement on most things but I do agree that the quest for resources is a very significant factor in a lot of current geo-politics.

@ man on Clapham Omnibus

While I agree that the antics of the EDL and Choudary’s mob may suit various parties, I think one ought to be careful before assuming either group are being played. Small groups that have substantial influence can have their own autonomy and motivations regardless of the capital that others think they can, or actually can, make from it.

I am more inclined to the ‘cock-up’ than the ‘conspiracy’ view of politics (of whatever shade).

32. mylastpostwaseliminated

Check out the anagrams dreamed up by the evil occultists in our midst (who stir all this up)!

I.E.D (bomb)
DIE
EID (festival of sacrifice)

In response to no increased spate of attacks on Muslims

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/half-of-britains-mosques-have-been-attacked-since-911-8679304.html

Just because you do not know about it does not mean it does not exist.

32

Eid means feast or festival in arabic, Eid al-Adha is feast of the sacrifice. Please do some research bro as you just come off as ignorant.

35. Bob Williams

When we look at what actually happened rather than media accounts of what happened, a completely difference picture emerges of the events: 1) the bomb was placed four feet from the Yank’s Camry at 14 Rutter Street in front of the gated pedestrian footpath to the senior citizens’ council housing; 2) the Yank’s car was the only property damaged; 3) the Yank told ITV the device was ‘amateur’ and ‘probably a large firework like an M80′; 4) the Yank said this was probably ‘kids’ and ‘a prank upon the Yank’ after he went on holiday for 10 ten days on Thursday prior to the Friday night event; 5) after the Yanks’ car was damaged by the large firework (who put it there? Mosque kids?), the adults from the mosque decided to take it from the alleyway and bring it into the mosque; 6) after dozens of people handled the remains of the large firework, the mosque people phoned the coppers; 7) the firework was contaminated by so many people handling it that fingerprints of who put it next to the Yank’s car are not discernible.

In summary, the Yank’s car was where the bomb was placed so how is this anything to do with the non-targeted mosque? How do we know that the Yank’s suspicions it was simply a prank by kids is not now being covered-up by grown-ups?

A bomb outside a mosque and we need to find a motive, a bomb outside a church and I guarantee that shit is instantly terrorism.


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