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The BBC has stated in its news bulletins that the Manchester bomb attack could have been stopped.  In the web report they quote from a report saying that the attack coud have been stopped if… “the cards fallen differently.”

Could MI5 have stopped 2017’s attacks?

A major review of whether MI5 could have stopped any of 2017’s terrorism attacks has revealed details of opportunities that, had they been followed through, might have stopped two of them.

“MI5 … came by intelligence [on Abedi] in the months before the attack which, had its true significance been properly understood, would have caused an investigation into him to be opened.”

Those two pieces of undisclosed intelligence were thought to relate to crime, rather than terrorism.

Was this a missed opportunity? MI5 concluded that the intelligence was insufficient. But Mr Anderson’s review states: “It is conceivable that the Manchester attack… might have been averted had the cards fallen differently.”

Firstly that’s a totally meaningless statement…’if’ I had a time machine I could go back in time and fix everything with the knowledge I have now….if the cards had fallen differently is a nonsense statement…of course if things had been different…but they weren’t. Second the BBC misses out what was said before and after that claim.

Before we get to that let’s quote some more from the report, something of interest to do with the British people’s response….

The public response – like that of the police who reacted promptly to each attack – was impressive. Manchester came together in a moving demonstration of solidarity. The international headline which described London as “reeling” missed the mark: resilient, or resolute, would have been closer. Rather than divide the country, these shocking crimes united decent people of all races and religions in sympathy for the victims and condemnation for the attackers. Post-attack hate crimes, unacceptable though they are, cannot obscure this greater truth.

The BBC prefers to say that the British response was a wave of anti-Muslim hatred and a rising tide of ‘Islamophobic’ attacks.  I might suggest the people of this country have been incredibly tolerant and patient with the Muslim community considering what has happened over the last 25 years.

But back to ‘they could have stopped it’……

The report says‘in a free society and against a worsening threat background, it is not realistic to expect everything to be stopped.’

And in relation to the Manchester attack in particular….

Salman Abedi (Manchester)
Abedi: summary
Like Khalid Masood (but 30 years younger), Salman Abedi was a closed SOI at the time of his attack, and so not under active investigation. MI5 nonetheless came by intelligence in the months before the attack which, had its true significance been properly understood, would have caused an investigation into him to be opened. It is unknowable whether such an investigation would have allowed Abedi’s plans to be pre-empted and thwarted: MI5 assesses that it would not.

So completely unknowable if the attack could have been stopped….if only things had been different…well yes.

That phrase ‘had the cards fallen differently‘ was in fact part of a paragraph praising MI5 and the police whose systems were working well….and is a rather strange and casual line as it suggests a perfect knowledge of things they didn’t know and is a throwaway comment based more on hope than fact….

Nor could it be said of the attacks under review, save in the case of Finsbury Park, that MI5 and the police were entirely blindsided. Khalid Masood (Westminster) and Salman Abedi (Manchester) had both been subjects of interest, and Khuram Butt (London Bridge) remained under active investigation. Substantial and appropriate coverage was in place around key individuals, and mechanisms designed to assess risk were working as intended. MI5 and CT Policing got a great deal right: particularly in the case of Manchester, they could have succeeded had the cards fallen differently.

The report goes on to admit that this is purely the opinion of one man using knowledge gained after the event against the judgement of MI5’s professional opinion….The author claims he ‘offers no view’ but then strangely suggests it is possible MI5 could have stopped the atatck but we can’t know because that is pure speculation based upon a high degree of inherent uncertainty…in other words he doesn’t have a clue but is hedging his bets with some mealy mouthed words…

In relation to the question of whether the Manchester attack could or should have been stopped (2.37 and 3.15 above), I offer no view on whether the re-opening of an investigation into Salman Abedi in early 2017 would, as MI5 concludes “on the clear balance of professional opinion”, have been unlikely to result in the pre-emption of the gathering plot. While that may be right, I prefer to emphasise my agreement with the other point made in this connection: that “there is a high degree of inherent uncertainty in speculating as to what might or might not have been discovered”.

We are also told how difficult MI5’s job is…and yet the report can claim maybe, possibly, if only, had things been different….the attack could have been stopped….

The Director General of MI5 recently described the work of his staff in the following terms:
“They are constantly making tough professional judgments based on fragments of intelligence: pin pricks of light against a dark and shifting canvas.”

After immersing myself in the minutiae of these investigations, that strikes me as an accurate description of MI5’s counter-terrorism work. The reason why the judgements can be “tough” is that they are made against a background of imperfect information, and yet frequently require staff to choose which of a number of current and potentially deadly threats is most deserving of scarce investigative resource.

So pretty much nonsense to  suggest the Manchester attack could have been stopped.  The BBC of course grabs the headline that makes the most sensation…entirely irresponsible as it creates anger amongst victims and their families and expectations that can never be fulfilled… the report says…

‘in a free society and against a worsening threat background, it is not realistic to expect everything to be stopped.’

Hitler could have been stopped ‘had the cards fallen differently’.…but they didn’t.  And of course the BBC played its part in that banning Churchill and his anti-Hitler speeches from the airwaves in case he ‘offended’ the Germans.  Sounds very familiar today.




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12 Responses to Prevent

  1. Jerry Owen says:

    I can’t add to this excellent post from Alan. But when I first heard the phrase ‘had the cards fallen differently’ on my way home from work yesterday it really both puzzled me and made me bloody angry as I thought, what makes the ‘cards fall right’ as these people were known.
    I am so glad this odd phrase has been picked upon here. This is such a great and perceptive blog.


  2. Fedup2 says:

    I mentioned last night that al c4 news pursued the failure narrative and added to it by putting the husband of a poor lady murdered in the Manchester attack in the studio.

    I hope it did this gentle man some good in his grief because Snow just put words into his mouth sensing a complaint victim.

    I suppose the fruitcake conspiracy theorists will say they let the attacks happen to justify their existence –
    When the reality is it’s not wood from trees any more it is wood from the evil dark forest .,


  3. Broadcasting-on-Behalf-of-the-Caliphate says:

    The BBC are hypocrites. In practice they don’t want such Islamically motivated attacks to be stopped as proven by their opposition to the Government’s Prevent Programme and their opposition to stop and search on the basis of “profiling” which they say is Islamophobic and racist.


  4. Foscari says:

    It’s so hard to know who to blame for terror attacks. We cannot blame the security services totally .
    Even the BBC realize that it’s not completely their fault they cannot stop every attack. One cannot
    blame Islamic doctrine because we all know that terrorist attacks have NOTHING to do with I SLAM.
    We know it has nothing to do with the parents or family of the terrorists because they tell us that
    they loved playing cricket and always prayed at least five times a day, as they had been taught to..
    No as the BBC and politicians tell us . It has nothing to do with religion of peace. Nothing to do with
    the parents of the boys. Do you know what? I think I mostly in agreement with the BBC . It is nearly all
    the security services fault!


  5. JimS says:

    If only we had followed the advice of Enoch Powell, the cards might have fallen differently.


  6. Jerry Owen says:

    Jim S
    We wouldn’t have needed any cards !


  7. honestus says:

    ‘had the cards fallen differently’.
    How many attacks and potential atrocities have our security services prevented? If we are in the business of re-writing history then the reality is that we could be mourning the loss of countless more innocent lives. The BBBC need to tread very carefully here so as NOT to suggest the our over stretched security forces are responsible for these acts and in expecting them to monitor an entire population will not inevitably lead to more destruction and death. You can succeed a hundred times and no one mentions it. You only need to fail once and the national broadcaster is on the case – not in a constructive way.


  8. Dave says:

    Meanwhile, the BBC feels it is part of its charter to tackle ‘fake news’ in schools.

    More indoctrination.


    • Broadcasting-on-Behalf-of-the-Caliphate says:

      To add for completeness – this is what the BBC have as their lead story on their CBBC children’s channel:
      Fake News: Should you learn about it in school?

      Ps To Alan or VX: this matter is definitely worth having a separate Biasedbbc article.


  9. Lucy Pevensey says:

    ‘had the cards fallen differently’

    What sort of a statement is that? It could be applied to anything or anyone at anyplace and anytime in history couldn’t it? If our establishment with it’s MSM mouthpiece had not deliberately imported and fostered Islam among us we wouldn’t be playing this Mohammedan card game at all. One could fairly say ‘The cards’ are stacked against us now.


  10. Rich says:

    I highlighted the bBbc misrepresentation of this report to my daughter simply by showing her the disparity between fact and the bBbc Views narrative using two different sources spewed out by them, their Ceefax or whatever tf they call it now and their radio news. She saw it immediately and understood. She’s 12.

    They’ll not be indoctrinating and hoodwinking my kids even if the school does let them in for ‘fake news identification training’. Who the f%&k do these people think they are? They really do think we’re all mugs.


  11. Dover Sentry says:

    If the BBC were pro-Brexit, they could campaign that the £50bn donated to the EU as part of the divorce would be better spent on extra surveillance teams and equipment.