London atrocity caught security off guard

Friday, 8 July 2005

The timing of yesterday's terrorism attacks in London could not have occurred at a worse time, according to Dr John Bruni, a Visiting Research Fellow in the Centre for Asian Studies at the University of Adelaide.

And Dr Bruni added that the terrorist alert levels in the UK had been lowered, which in many ways caught the security officials off guard.

"The terrorist attack, sadly, struck at a time of national celebration, with Britain hosting the G8 summit at Gleneagles in Scotland and winning the bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics," he said.

"It is unknown at this stage if the group that claimed responsibility - Secret Al Qaeda Jihad organisation in Europe - is connected to the one (Al Qaeda in Europe) that committed the Madrid bombings last March.

"Terrorism is not just about body counts. As we have observed, the body count in this atrocity is not high. But, the effect has been to shut down a European capital's entire mass transit system. A couple of explosions has a disproportionate impact on the psychology of the British people and the nation's economy," he said.

Dr Bruni said terrorism is not merely responding to an order from a cave in Afghanistan, it's about local terrorist cells carefully observing the routine of internal security forces and seeing what vulnerability may present themselves.

"We must be mindful that, in spite of our best efforts, the internal security of any country cannot be forever vigilant. There comes a time when routine begets complacency, because ultimately what we are doing is waiting for a threat that may never eventuate, and when it does manifest itself, it comes as a great shock to the system," Dr Bruni said.


Contact Details

Dr John Bruni
Director, SAGE International
(defence consultant and former University of Adelaide staff member)
Mobile: +61 448 581 890

Media Team
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 0814