London Calling

Der Spiegel gets a hold of a 2003 al Qaida strategy paper, and asks: Is Rome Next?  The attack on Madrid was an effort to topple the "first domino," the United States' European ally with the most public resistence to the war in Iraq. Poland and Italy present similar opportunities, but author Yassin Musharbash argues that so few Arabs live in Poland that sleeper cells would be more obvious. Italy is another question. On Friday a group that identified itself with al Qaida issued a warning against Rome - one of many threats that have come against Italy and its prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi. Europeans are questioning their vulnerability. The day after the London bombing the Berliner Zeitung paper asked, "So, Tomorrow in Berlin?"

BinladenbusOther Europeans are defiant. A web site called We Are Not Afraid! collects images of strength in solidarity with London, and in opposition to those who'd sow terror. Pictures include plays on Munch's The Scream, multiple flip-offs, photos of happy couples and kids and the words "Not Afraid" written on streets, cars, cigar boxes, iPods, advisories and airport departure boards. It's approaching 1,000 reader contributions.

For a sample of British opinion on Thursday's rush-hour bombings, there's Metroblogging London, a collective of 14 voices, who have created a smart digest of newspaper reports and citizen's pictures, and wonder why was London targeted. They quote a security expert who painted a familiar picture of the enemy for The Times: "They will be apparently ordinary British citizens; young men conservatively and cleanly dressed and probably with some higher education. Highly computer literate, they will have used the internet to research explosives. They are painstaking, cautious, clever and very sophisticated."

The Observer's chief reporter, Jason Burke, blogs his first impressions. "Fundamentally, this is an amateurish, lo-tech operation," writes Burke, author of al Qaida: Casting a Shadow of Terror. "It indicates a small group who did what they could with limited resources available."

Pfff, the London blogger whose post, surviving a terrorist attack, I linked to Thursday, comes through with another entry, this one the tricks one mind plays after a trauma.

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