"Rejoice, community of Muslims," the letter states. "The heroic mujahedeens today conducted an attack in London," it continues. All of Great Britain is now shaken and shocked, "in the north, the south, west and east." "We've warned the British government and the British people time and again," the letter adds. "We've kept our promise and have carried out a blessed military operation."
"We continue to warn the governments of Denmark and Italy and all other crusader governments." We demand that all countries pull their troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq, states the letter, which has been signed by the "Secret Organization -- al Qaida in Europe."
Judging from their rhetoric, these criminals seem to have delusions of grandeur. I'm not one to say that the peoples of the Middle East don't have legitimate grievances with the West and our support of authoritarian regimes that offer anything but justice and freedom. But to call the murder of civilians, including children, as "heroic" is to speak from a moral center as black and corrupt as is possible.
Their ability to call the bombings a "military operation" is a gift from President Bush and cohorts, who legitimized these criminals by treating them as war opponents, placing Osama bin Laden up among the ranks of Hitlers and Pol Pots. The man who should be considered a megalomaniac gangbanger has been made into an historical figure. And he's still loose, enjoying record recruitment thanks to our own bombing of civilians in Iraq.
So please remind me how invading Iraq has made us safer.
Chris Johnston of the Guardian has a sampling of some UK blogger responses:
Perfect.co.uk offered a more personal perspective on the events at 12.19pm. "I'm alive, as are my immediate family and friends. Edgware Rd tube is approximately 200m from my office, and I imagine around half of the people at work use the station during their commute."
Ellis Conroy commented on the coverage provided by BBC News 24, which was also simulcast on BBC1. "From a reporting standpoint, they're doing a great job so far; less sensationalism than the rest, and they're breaking the news faster."
Rafael Behr on the Observer's newsblog described what news organisations are going through on a day like today: "There is a taut atmosphere - a mood of extreme alertness I recognise from reporting emergencies in the past, as journalists who are used to being detached from 'a story' strain to focus on news judgement and the necessary mechanics of reporting an event that will clearly also have a massive emotional impact."
There's also already a Wikipedia entry on the bombings. There's already quite a lot there. I'd quote from it, but no doubt it's changing by the minute, and will go through many revisions over the coming days.