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 Posted Tuesday, January 26, 1999


April 26, 1999   

ON SATURDAY a nail bomb detonated in Brick Lane, in the East End of London where the street signs are written in both English and Urdu.

According to the newspapers, a passer-by saw the heavy sports bag standing by itself, and picked it up and placed it in the trunk of his very nice red car and locked it.

We have this gentleman's word for it that before the nasty shock of seeing his car thereupon blow up before his eyes in a ball of fire, he had taken the bag "to the nearest police station" but found the doors locked; whereupon, he says, he returned, still carrying the bomb, meaning to drive it to another police station with more amenable opening hours.

I suppose the East End always has bred rather odd characters. We must remark upon the sense of public duty of this ethnic gentleman, who finding a sports bag identical to the one widely publicised as containing the nail-bomb that devastated Brixton, a Black community in south London, only one Saturday before, did not leave it well alone, but picked it up and placed it in the trunk of his evidently expensive car.

This gentleman is last seen in the newspapers as being "interviewed by police" -- in any other circumstances he would be regarded quite improperly as a pickpocket or bag snatcher. Being far less brave myself, I confess I would have given such a bag a very wide berth indeed.

There are however other noteworthy features of this "Nazi nail bomb" story.

The news came at a convenient moment to divert newspaper attention from the increasingly shameful spectacle of Nato- mangled civilians in Serbia, where Mr Tony Blair's brave bomber offensive has just wrought such famous victories as flattening an evil TV make-up girl, a dangerous tool of Milosevic's propaganda weapon, beneath tons of Belgrade television studio debris, in a building-pancake oddly reminiscent of the Alfred P Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

So who did plant the nail-bomb in Brixton?

Combat 18, a fictitious "right wing extremist" body which I believe has in fact as much flesh on its bones as Mr Abu ("they seek him here, there seek him there") Nidal? After all Combat 18 is evidently boneheaded enough to phone-in its claim to having fathered the Brixton Bomb from a pay-phone in the street where Stephen Lawrence's alleged racist killers lived. Duh?

Perhaps the Brick Street weapon was planted by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, trying to take the heat off President Bill Clinton -- who that very day was speaking of the school massacre at Littleton, Colorado, a little town in mid-America which I know well, having spoken half a dozen times to Ordinary Americans in a little bookshop in its centre: Mr Clinton spoke in properly measured presidential tones of people who try to make politics by using violence, even as his high-tech bombers were doing precisely that to the Littletons of central Europe.

Or are the real culprits of Brixton and Brick Street to be sought nearer home: I ask only, cui bono? Whom do such "Nazi nail-bombs" really benefit?

A clue: pre-empting any outcome of the police inquiry, our widely loved Home Secretary Jack Straw has hinted at tougher laws to clamp down on the right wing, revisionists, and "extremists". London's newspapers this evening announce that a vigilante body of five hundred "armband-wearing" young men will patrol the streets of Southall, the Indian suburb of London, from now on: would these musclemen be a million miles from the Community Security Trust, we wonder (and we all know who are behind them).

Are these bomb outrages, we wonder, an uglier manifestation of the synagogue-daubing self-mutilation practiced by such bodies when they need to attract attention to themselves?

Whatever: I am proud to offer from my own pocket one thousand pounds to add to the police reward offered for the capture of the Brixton Bomber, if (and only if) he should turn out to be a bona-fide member of "Combat 18." Somehow I feel my money is quite safe.

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© Focal Point 1999 F DISmall write to David Irving