Terrorizing World – "Enough is enough"

Time to ACT tough . Now !

Tanks at Heathrow and anti-terror overreactions in Olympic runup

Posted by :) on July 25, 2012

 Source : guardian

Marina Hyde wrote what I thought was at first a tongue-in-cheek piece about security for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Even Beijing didn’t put an army on the gates, 6 July). However, as the column extended, it became clear that this was anything but a lighthearted dig at the overreaction of Locog and for that matter the security services.

In a throwaway remark she talked about the very rare occasions where the armed services have been brought in to provide security for the public. She mentioned an incident when I was home secretary in relation to what she described as “David Blunkett deploying tanks to Heathrow, an irrational piece of theatre that failed to rally support for the then imminent attack on Iraq”.

Actually, had she done her homework she would have known that I was the one who requested the Metropolitan police and the military to remove the armoured personnel vehicles from Heathrow! My view – paradoxically, given her piece – was that it was extremely upsetting and counterproductive to have armoured vehicles in a situation which was not fundamental to the protection of the British people or our economy.

I know it’s easier sometimes to make presumptions and to stereotype those who have taken responsibility for the most difficult issues, but it is somewhat galling when your actions are used against you in arguing a point on which the author and I happen, on this occasion, to be in agreement!

For the record, I also persuaded colleagues and the Ministry of Defence to downscale their activity in protecting party conferences in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.
David Blunkett MP
Labour, Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough


• Such a relief to know that it is OK to shoot down an aircraft so that it crashes into insignificant east London to prevent it crashing into significant other parts of London (Secret deal gives minister power to shoot down aircraft, 7 July). All in this together, of course.
Howard Pilott
Lewes, East Sussex


• You quote David Anderson QC, the government’s terrorism powers watchdog, as saying he is “watching like a hawk” for the misuse of police powers ahead of the Olympics. I wonder if he is going to intervene following the deplorable action by the Staffordshire police on the M6 motorway yesterday (Pre-Olympic nerves strike as motorway is closed by a man with a fake cigarette, 6 July)?

Innocent passengers on the coach, some of whom were children, recount that they were held for several hours at gunpoint and then forcibly searched. One was quoted (in the Daily Mail) as saying: “We thought we would be shot.”

I wonder under what powers the police acted? There comes a point at which “anti-terrorism” shades into “state terrorism”. This police overreaction, causing as it did terror and distress among those innocent people detained, must be thoroughly investigated and steps taken to prevent any reoccurrence.
Chris Mills
Sevenoaks, Kent


• We now know that closing down central London during the Olympics will not require explosives; a fake cigarette on the underground is all that is necessary.
David Hitchin
Seaford, East Sussex


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