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Manchester Arena Explosions?

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4 minutes ago, Rico1304 said:

I’ve never had a Pret sandwich. There’s one right next to work but I can’t bring myself to use it. Phil Potts is my limit. 

Phillpots is lovely 

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I was working at the University of Salford when this happened. 

 

The suicide bomber was a student there at the time in the Business School.

 

A weird time. Less like working at a University and more like being in an episode of Homeland. 

 

The number of security services on campus was unreal. Thankfully I was not one of the staff interviewed by them

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Just watching the local news reports on the ongoing inquiry. Some of the injuries being described sound fairly horiffic. Severe head and neck injuries. Probably caused by shrapnel, you'd imagine. The one very, very small crumb of comfort is that the coroners have concluded that lots of the victims died fairly instantly and didn't suffer. 

 

They just did a feature on one poor young girl who died. She'd literally just entered the arena about a second before the bomb was detonated. I don't really buy into stuff like predestination or fatalism but just imagine if some trivial, everyday event had happened on her walk into the arena like she'd stopped briefly to check her phone, or her mate she was with had stopped to tie his lace or they'd just idled a bit more, people watching or something and they were 10 seconds or so behind their actual path on the day? 

 

I'd hope the bereaved parents don't have those thoughts as I'd imagine such "what if?" questions to be utterly soul destroying for them. 

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Apparently the security services have tried to hush up a lot of the disclosures about their knowledge at the inquiry. Wonder what they knew in the run up to the attacks. They should be on trial for negligence based manslaughter.

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6 hours ago, Cockyroach said:

Apparently the security services have tried to hush up a lot of the disclosures about their knowledge at the inquiry. Wonder what they knew in the run up to the attacks. They should be on trial for negligence based manslaughter.

How do you know? 

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7 hours ago, Cockyroach said:

Apparently the security services have tried to hush up a lot of the disclosures about their knowledge at the inquiry. Wonder what they knew in the run up to the attacks. They should be on trial for negligence based manslaughter.

Legally that does not stack up

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14 hours ago, Nelly-Torres said:

Just watching the local news reports on the ongoing inquiry. Some of the injuries being described sound fairly horiffic. Severe head and neck injuries. Probably caused by shrapnel, you'd imagine. The one very, very small crumb of comfort is that the coroners have concluded that lots of the victims died fairly instantly and didn't suffer. 

 

They just did a feature on one poor young girl who died. She'd literally just entered the arena about a second before the bomb was detonated. I don't really buy into stuff like predestination or fatalism but just imagine if some trivial, everyday event had happened on her walk into the arena like she'd stopped briefly to check her phone, or her mate she was with had stopped to tie his lace or they'd just idled a bit more, people watching or something and they were 10 seconds or so behind their actual path on the day? 

 

I'd hope the bereaved parents don't have those thoughts as I'd imagine such "what if?" questions to be utterly soul destroying for them. 

I often think about things like that. Like RTA's - what if they had gone back to double check all the doors were locked before leaving the house, or had stopped at a set of lights that were turning amber instead of powering through. You'd drive yourself mad in the end, i reckon.   

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14 hours ago, Rico1304 said:

How do you know? 

It was reported in the papers that the inquiry judge was surprised by the lack of evidence and disclosure provided by the security services.

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12 hours ago, Total Longo said:

I often think about things like that. Like RTA's - what if they had gone back to double check all the doors were locked before leaving the house, or had stopped at a set of lights that were turning amber instead of powering through. You'd drive yourself mad in the end, i reckon.   

Death would follow you around thinking up more and more elaborate ways to kill you over the course of about 5 films.

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58 minutes ago, Cockyroach said:

It was reported in the papers that the inquiry judge was surprised by the lack of evidence and disclosure provided by the security services.

Papers then. Ok. 

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1 hour ago, Cockyroach said:

It was reported in the papers that the inquiry judge was surprised by the lack of evidence and disclosure provided by the security services.


I imagine it might throw up some enemy of my enemy is my friend - until they’re back to being my enemy type questions. From the FT back in 2017.

 

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.ft.com/content/42cabb04-4203-11e7-9d56-25f963e998b2

 

 by 
 

Salman Abedi was 16 when he first visited Libya, the country his parents had fled in 1993 to escape persecution under Muammer Gaddafi. But this was no ordinary coming-of-age trip for Abedi. Once there, he reunited with his father, who had left his family in Manchester three years earlier to aid the revolution against Gaddafi. And, according to friends of the family, members of the Libyan community in Manchester and sources in Libya, Abedi had come to fight.

 

He was not alone. It was 2011, and dozens of other Mancunians were already there. Mustafa Graf, the imam of the Didsbury mosque, the centre of the Libyan community in south Manchester, had also travelled back to Libya to help topple Gaddafi. Manchester became a fundraising centre for their war effort. Preachers travelled between the two countries, encouraging the fight, invariably couching it in terms of jihad.

 

This week, the 22-year-old Abedi detonated a rucksack filled with tricyclic acetone peroxide, bolts and nails, murdering 22 others and maiming dozens more, many of them children and young adults, in the worst terror attack to strike the UK since the 7/7 London bombings 12 years earlier. The attack on the Manchester Arena cast a spotlight on the city and its community of Libyan exiles, dozens of whom have gone to fight in Libya in recent years with Islamist militias.

 

Throughout the years of Gaddafi rule in Libya, Manchester was a magnet for Libyan exiles like the Abedis. The city’s Libyan community, one of the largest outside Libya, is tightly knit. “Everyone knows everyone,” says one Libyan living in the city.
 

Britain’s intelligence agencies knew the community well, too, and had longstanding dealings with its Islamist contingent. But the attack raises serious questions over their assessment of it. MI5, the UK’s domestic intelligence agency, facilitated the travel of many Islamist Mancunians back to Libya.

 

Until recently, the UK’s spymasters have not seen the community as a particular threat. Libyan Islamists in Manchester, many believed, were too focused on waging a national jihad in their homeland to be a threat to the UK. Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war and the spate of attacks in France, Belgium and Germany, anti-terror work in the UK and Europe has focused on young returnees from Syria
 

Security officials have repeatedly sketched out the dangerous dynamics the Syrian crisis has unleashed: a cohort of young Britons who will be brutalised by the conflict, skilled in the trade and tools of war, connected to transnational networks of fellow fighters by powerful bonds of kinship and shared suffering.

 

It is a prognosis that holds true for the civil war in Libya. The story of Salman Abedi is one of a parallel, overlooked jihad to that in Syria.

 

“These are fundamentally questions of identity. What are the local grievances that would lead someone to blow up a load of young people at a concert with nails and bolts? Manchester isn’t the city that made those grievances fester and grow,” says Richard Barrett, former director of global counter terrorism operations at MI6. “It’s the ability of groups like Isis to wrap up your individual and local anxieties and grievances into this overall huge picture — to make you a somebody.”

 

Throughout Abedi’s childhood in Manchester, Libya was ever-present. The vast majority of Libyans in the city are well integrated, but some cliques remain staunchly nationalist, still affected by the brutal treatment at the hands of Gaddafi’s regime that prompted many families to flee. Islamist views — the cause of that persecution — often shade into such nationalism.

 

Ramadan Abedi, Salman’s father, was a member of the Libyan nationalist-
Islamist nexus in Manchester. By some accounts, he was a senior member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, the liberation movement that was the core of anti-Gaddafi Salafism. His sons grew up with tales of the injustices inflicted on devout Muslims in Libya. 

 

When Salman was 13, his father returned to Libya as part of a deal brokered between the Gaddafi regime — then keen to rehabilitate itself on the global stage — and émigré Islamists. It was an uneasy rapprochement, and one in which the UK’s intelligence agencies were deeply involved, as they sought to mine information from both sides to advance the war on terror. 

 

Three years later, in 2011, the uneasy settlement in Libya had broken apart in the wake of the Arab uprisings, and the country was at war. It was then that Salman and his father were reunited.

 

The reunion took place against a backdrop of mounting western concern over Libya. As Gaddafi’s repression grew bloodier, Britain and France led a push for military intervention. The UK’s military role in the Nato-led coalition that ousted the regime is well documented. Less well covered is the degree to which it facilitated the movement of anti-Gaddafi Islamists from Britain. Dozens of émigrés who had fled Gaddafi for Manchester returned to fight him.

 

In Libya, many connected with Islamist militias, the most capable anti-Gaddafi forces, and swelled their ranks. 

 

Bilal Bettammer, a Libyan student and social activist in the revolution, now a lawyer in Canada, recalls the influx. 

 

“I’d say of the more hardline groups, 60 or 70 per cent of their fighters in the beginning were from abroad. In 2011 we noticed a big influence from Manchester. There were lots of them in Derna. There were Libyan families here cashing British welfare cheques. Those went a long way in dinar.” 

 

Mr Bettammer recalls watching a British preacher in Libya. “We have to choose sharia and reject secularism, he was saying. He was from Manchester, talking about stories of his life there. About the need to convert people. It was all the usual rhetoric but, in Libya, it had a violent meaning.” 

 

Mr Bettammer says he and other secularist campaigners tried to warn the British ambassador to Libya at the time about the number of Britons and their radical views but were rebuffed. The UK, he says, wanted to encourage them instead because it viewed the Islamist groups as a more viable anti-Gaddafi alternative to native secularists.

 

Libyans dubbed the ranks of British Islamists “double shafras” — shafra is the Arabic word for a SIM card. It is a telling metaphor for the degree to which the fighters easily straddled two worlds. Back in Manchester, the phenomenon was well known in the Libyan community. “I think everyone knows someone who went,” a local housewife says.

 

But within the Libyan foreign fighter movement another divide would emerge, as younger fighters became more radicalised. 

 

Akram Ramadan, a Libyan who lives upstairs from one of the flats in Manchester’s Whalley Range neighbourhood that was raided in the wake of the attack, says a “lack of family control” led many of the younger Mancunian fighters towards violent anti-western jihadism. Mr Ramadan fought against Gaddafi in the revolution and saw its effects on the sons of Manchester’s Libyan fighters. 

 

“They’re not accepted in any society — this society or that society over there,” Mr Ramadan says. “Here, they look foreign. There, they sound foreign. There’s no acceptance of them or appreciation for what they did.

 

“It happened to a lot of kids. They hung about together and played football together. Some of them went into drugs. Some of them got their heads down and went into study. Some were easy picking for the terrorists.”

 

Even before Abedi’s atrocity, there was evidence of the problem. 

 

Last year, Abdelraouf Abdallah, who had fought in Libya, was jailed for terrorism offences. Police said he had become one of Isis’s most prolific recruiters in the UK. He was well known to the Abedi family. After a bullet in his spine left him wheelchair-bound in 2012, Abedi’s brother Ramadan spent time at Abdallah’s bedside in Tripoli. 

 

It is still far from clear when or how Salman Abedi fell in with Isis — or even if he did. Isis has claimed him as a member, but the group’s messaging has been uncharacteristically confused. 

 

UK security officials are treading carefully. The connections between the Abedis and Islamist networks in Libya are firmly established, says one western diplomat based in Tripoli. But the interactions between those networks and Isis is still unclear. 

 

In some ways, the distinctions as to which group a terrorist like Abedi took directions from are artificial, says Raffaello Pantucci, international director at the think-tank RUSI. “Before you may have had these specific networks, but really the key point now is that, certainly in the UK context, it’s all the same pool of people — the same radical community that these extremist groups’ attack planners go fishing in.” 

 

Homegrown terrorists like Abedi, Mr Pantucci says, are less likely to make doctrinaire distinctions about the groups they are affiliated with than the senior figures in those groups directing them. “These kids go to a war zone populated by Islamists, then they come back to the UK, they know bombs, they know how to make bullets,” says Mr Bettammer, the former activist. “[Salman Abedi] was in Libya fighting other Muslims. What do you think he’s going to do when he’s back in the UK?”

 

Additional reporting by Robert Wright and Andrew Bounds in Manchester, Heba Saleh in Cairo, Erika Solomon in Gaziantep and Patricia Nilsson in London

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23 hours ago, Cockyroach said:

Apparently the security services have tried to hush up a lot of the disclosures about their knowledge at the inquiry. Wonder what they knew in the run up to the attacks. They should be on trial for negligence based manslaughter.

Civil or criminal trial?

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1 minute ago, Stouffer said:

Civil or criminal trial?

Depends how bad the disclosures are. If they had direct info that abedi was about to commit an attack and sat on it, then the charges should be criminal.

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