Iain Cameron's Diary
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2005-07-08 - 10:31 a.m.
The strangest of days in the weirdest of weeks. I woke early and got stuck into the 10 Short Stories. By the time I made the journey to work the first outlines of the attack were becoming evident - at the power surge stage. And then on Radio 5 there was someone in Milton Keynes who had had a call from his friend about the bus attack. When I got to work I spoke to Keith whose daughter works in the City and he got a message from her about how things were going - this was around the peak of uncertainty in the target zone.
On the way home on the A452 there seemed to be strange incident where the carriage-way north had been closed by the police with the blue and white tapes around a car very badly wrecked but it didnít lok much like an accident. Possibly just a coincidence. I was on my way to the Tipperary where I read the long interview between S Vega and L Cohen. Maybe more about that later - its quite a document.
When I worked in Victoria I spent some time in the building disaster management team - at the time when the main threat was Irish and the bombs tended to be directed more against buildings than people. We were trained by one of the experts I saw pop up on television yesterday. His training method was pretty good - he had been a policeman at the first Kings Cross disaster at the end of the 70s. He took the team step by step through a scenario stopping at decision points for a structured discussion every few minutes.
I remember all the stuff about alert states - and by the end of my time I thought I could detect the nuances in the threat state by the way the police were behaving on the street. I remember at one very tense time armed police were stopping cars n Westminster bridge. I used to think that London had become quite a challenging environment for car-based attackers - although even the police admitted that the lorry based mortar attack on No 10 was a very impressive operation. I suppose it must be over 10 years ago.
I also went to some disaster management events in the City - I thought the people organizing these were very good indeed and so I am not surprised that the response was so effective. What it must have been to be caught in a tube attack is unimaginable.
When I did this work I went to Washington DC at one stage for some international discussions - a few years before the twin towers episode. I remember us saying that the thing about terrorist is their distance from us in terms of means and ends. Their ends are very distant from our way of looking at the world - but they also have very different ideas from us about the relationship between means and ends. If they are clever too then its quite difficult to anticipate what they will do next.