Julian Bray writes: The Parsons Green firebombing on a London Underground station that in the case of Parsons Green is an old 1940's style elevated wooden shuttered overground structure, on a line that eventually ends up in Wimbledon, South London.
Many millions of tennis fans will have used this line over the years. Its being widely reported but there are elements of the information stream that need to be addressed.
As I understand it, at no time did police report in the early stages, the 'home made device' was 'defective' and had gone off early, and indeed none of the news organisations seem to be able to back this up from a credible source.
The initial reports were not of an explosion, but more a dull crump (possibly like a mortar, consistent with the charge being in an open ended bucket or container ) then flames shooting along inside the closed tube carriage, in the process severely injuring many people some now with life changing multiple burns.
That in my book, suggests the device duly detonated and produced an effect, speculation by deskbound University 'experts' who should really know better than 'it had gone off early' is not the point. It should never have been on the Tube in the first place!
The fact is that a viable explosive device with some form of remote or simple delayed timer was transferred from a bomb factory, possibly many miles away, under the gaze of many hundreds of CCTV and other cameras, plus Underground staff - themselves in danger of being axed in the not too distant future - and placed in the railway tube carriage, in seemingly a plastic white bucket and that in turn placed inside a Lidl branded cool bag.
But consider, yet another style of cover could have been captured on CCTV. The device could have been easily placed in an outer case of a different colour and style with possibly a missing bottom floor panel, the device is then simply released as the case is casually rested by the exit door on the carriage floor, a timer may be preset or started with a simple string pull, to put the delay device in motion.
The bomber then calmly walks off with the outer (now bottomless and empty) case still in his hand, but his post incident CCTV image would remain consistent with any earlier footage showing him/her still with a hand carried case (Its an old trick employed by shoplifters and stage illusionists alike).
Rightly the police have appealed for any video/icam footage, but the media information response by the authorities to my mind has been muted and fragmented. (I say a co-ordinated and concerted programme of comprehensive support information is needed, with a return to formal news conferences set in a room or area with informative visual aids and additionally the content immediately streamed. Doorstep briefings by a single uniformed officer reading from a hastily prepared script are clearly no longer appropriate).
You have only to compare the current output with the constant police press briefings that were a defining element of the IRA bombings in London. I know as I was news reporting the entire IRA London campaign, and sometimes far too close to the incidents.
Clearly police and military resources have been capped and stretched by this government, and what used to pass for effective home beats and neighbourhood policing has all but vanished.
To my mind a huge and damaging mistake, many of these terrorist attempts or suspicions would have been relayed by concerned neighbours and others to the visible home beat police, and the suspects rounded up, but clearly not now.
The problem is simply the police and authorities not constantly pumping out important news release updates, so the 24-news-programmes have gone elsewhere and resorted to a ragbag of hastily gathered skype delivered speculative pieces, some of which are not at all helpful, others downright misleading and needlessly raising alarm.
Old retired coppers and a variety of security salesmen have also cashed in, some clearly not having updated their knowledge, and routinely trotting out some very 'suspect advice, which is then repeated every 20 minutes.
Its also not helped by some of the newer 'second-jobber' TV news anchors failing to challenge some (or indeed any) of the dafter ideas such as that the bombers latent DNA would be on the package. How can that be, when the whole lot had been fried and roasted by the explosion and the resultant fire flashover within the confined tube like railway carriage?
Some of these pundits, are just not thinking it through, and some TV news producers are being lazy in not filtering out this unhelpful material. There are lessons to be learned on all sides.... The national threat level remains as CRITICAL... Possibly a word to be pasted on the newsroom wall for all to see.
JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert, ... Travel & Holiday Guru www.aviationcomment.com, ... http://www.freelancedirectory.org/user.php?user=8121 ... www.freelancedirectory.org?name=Julian.Bray.aviation.comment, ... Aviation / Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industries, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 ... SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476