Thursday, July 07, 2005

Did Israel warn the British? 

As always happens when jihadis hit the West, conspiracy theorists claim that Jews were behind it or, no less invidiously, that Israel had the means to prevent the attack and did not. As of right now, one of the "most emailed" stores on Yahoo! News spreads the rumor that Bejamin Netanyahu, in London, changed his plans because he received a tip that there would be terrorist attacks. Early versions of this story reported on television that British intelligence tipped off Netanyahu, while refraining to inform their own citizenry. Anti-Semites spread different versions of the same lies in the wake of the September 11 attacks.

Stratfor, however, has just sent an alert to its subscribers that reports "unconfirmed rumors" that Israel had warned the British a couple of days before the attacks (i.e., July 5 or so), but that the British did not act on the information because past Israeli warnings had proven to be unreliable. Here's the sum and substance of Stratfor's email alert:
The Associated Press reported July 7 that an anonymous source in the Israeli Foreign Ministry said Scotland Yard had warned the Israeli Embassy in London of possible terrorist attacks in the U.K. capital. The information reportedly was passed to the embassy minutes before the first bomb struck at 0851 London time. The Israeli Embassy promptly ordered Israeli Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to remain in his hotel on the morning of July 7. Netanyahu was scheduled to participate in an Israeli Investment Forum Conference at the Grand Eastern Hotel, located next to the Liverpool Street Tube station -- the first target in the series of bombings that hit London on July 7.

Several hours later, Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom officially denied reports that Scotland Yard passed any information to Israel regarding the bombings, and British police denied they had any advanced warning of the attacks. The British authorities similarly denied that any information exchange had occurred.

Contrary to original claims that Israel was warned “minutes before” the first attack, unconfirmed rumors in intelligence circles indicate that the Israeli government actually warned London of the attacks “a couple of days” previous. Israel has apparently given other warnings about possible attacks that turned out to be aborted operations. The British government did not want to disrupt the G-8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, or call off visits by foreign dignitaries to London, hoping this would be another false alarm.

The British government sat on this information for days and failed to respond. Though the Israeli government is playing along publicly, it may not stay quiet for long. This is sure to apply pressure on Blair very soon for his failure to deter this major terrorist attack.

As we learned in the United States last year, this revelation, once it becomes public or otherwise backed by some evidence, will put tremendous pressure on the Blair government. This will be unfair, and will make prosecution of the war on Islamist jihad more difficult. Governments have to exercise judgment about the reliability of intelligence that they receive, whether from allies or developed internally. Sometimes those judgments will be wrong, with fatal consequences. Unfortunately for those in power, the great masses of people who do not follow the war obsessively only hear about the incorrect judgments, and will dedicated public servants whose decisions only look wrong in the glare of hindsight.


By Anonymous Jeff, at Thu Jul 07, 03:23:00 PM:

Thanks for the info from Stratfor. They usually are on top of things.  

By Anonymous Matt B (UK), at Mon Jul 11, 09:12:00 PM:

Sorry but spot the glaring error here:

1. Israel knew before the British
2. British warned israelis just prior to the bombs
3. Israelis "promptly" warned Netanyahu to stay put.

this assumes that although the israelis know of the threat and thought it serious enough to tell the Brits they neglected to tell their own embassy?! Or Netanyahu?

So without the warning from scotland yard he would have gone to the speech?

Sorry this really doesn't add up at all.

IMHO you often get things messed up straight after a major incident, the police got the timings of the bombs all messed up for several days afterwards and it takes time to find out exactly what the sequence of events were.

just pointing out that whatever they were in this case there is a serious inconsistancy in your story and the stratfor email.  

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