A quick post here on the Finsbury Park attack – because what I actually want to talk about more is the so-called ‘race war’ meme or the widespread predictions/fears of a ‘civil war’ type scenario on the streets of England, as well as France, the US and elsewhere.
That, however, is such a big, important and complex subject, that I just want to talk quickly and solely about Finsbury Park first – and I will publish that bigger, broader article tomorrow.
As with the June 3rd attack in London Bridge, I was listening to a couple of hours of live radio as the story was breaking. As I have a habit of leaving the radio on when I’m trying to fall asleep, I happened to hear a number of live eyewitness callers from Finsbury Park – and it is clear that this was a real incident, just as London Bridge was probably a real incident.
Where I’m presently located is right next to Seven Sisters Road and quite close to Finsbury Park, in fact, and I heard from someone in the area – who isn’t Muslim and isn’t related to the mosque or the group that was targeted – who was adamant that the assault did happen.
I’m also not surprised, as I’ve been expecting some form of ‘retaliation’ attack against the Muslim community for some time and I’m actually surprised it hasn’t happened sooner, given how much this stuff has been going on for.
On the surface of it, the story of someone striking out against ‘the Muslims’ after the recent attacks in London and Manchester appears to make sense. Even the idea of him using the same method that alleged jihadis have used makes sense – both as tit-for-tat symbolism and because weaponising a van is so easy to do.
And the extent of anti-Muslim sentiment and feeling is genuinely so high that it isn’t at all unlikely for this to happen. So I can entirely accept that this is probably what happened.
However, as always, we should take note of a few things.
The biggest alarm bell for me came from the reports that the attacker/driver allegedly said “my bit is done” or “I did my bit” when he was surrounded by angry locals. There were other claims that he’d said something along the lines of “I’m here to kill Muslims” or “I want to kill all Muslims” – but this sounds very scripted to me, along the same lines as previous ‘battle cries’ like ‘This is for Allah’ (London Bridge) or ‘This is for Syria’ (Paris attacks).
On the other hand, “my bit is done” or “I did my bit” sounds suspicious. It could, of course, just be that he was drowning in anti-Muslim, alt-right propaganda and felt like attacking people in Finsbury Park was somehow him ‘doing his bit’ for his country, his race, or his society. But it’s also something that might be said by someone who has been coerced into something or who was part of a bigger organisational structure.
This is reinforced by the multiple claims that there were two other people with him and that they managed to run off and escape.
Some of this could always be false testimony, people making things up, or people’s perceptions playing tricks on them. But a number of supposed witnesses said they saw three people get out of the van. And the earliest callers I was listening to on the radio (this would’ve been between about 1.00 and 1.30 am) said there were three people, not one.
Now, again, this could be misinformation or misperception: but if it’s true, it suggests either that two people are at large and the nature of the incident is being covered up by authorities, or that the (alleged) two other people with him were his handlers and that they left him there with the mob and ran off.
There were also disparities between official statements and (supposed) eyewitnesses as to the amount of time it took for the police to arrive. Some at the scene claimed it took at least half-an-hour for police to arrive and up to 45 minutes for ambulances to arrive: official statements, however, are that the police arrived in minutes.
Again, there could be people at the scene either exaggerating or having a skewed perception of how long it took.
The Guardian report is curious. As is widely reported, the imam from the Muslim centre came out and intervened to stop the crowd from doing serious harm to the attacker, Darren Osbourne: however, according to this report, the imam says he and others ‘managed to flag down a passing police van’.
Which is odd language, as it suggests the police van just happened to be passing by and wasn’t arriving in response to the incident.
But, as I said, I’m generally willing to accept the official story of what happened: and to put some of these inconsistencies down to misperception or skewing of events.
But, as always – and given numerous past precedents – I’m also open to the possibility this may have been a staged event involving people other than just the lone driver. In that scenario – just as with the London Bridge attack – an attack did happen, as reported by witnesses, but the orchestration or source might be more complex than the official story.
What concerns me most, however, is this: whether this was a sudden, random ‘revenge’ attack or whether it was something more orchestrated – the danger being that this entire, toxic paradigm is edging towards a ‘race war’ or, at least, massive civil unrest: something that begins with a series of tit-for-tat acts of violence or targeted attacks and then spirals into something else.
That subject – the ‘race war’ that has been predicted for a long time, specifically centering on Islamist radicalisation and Far-Right white nationalism – was what I was going to explore here in terms of the Finsbury Park incident.
But I’ve decided to do that in a separate article tomorrow – partly because it’s such a complicated subject and partly also because I don’t think the Finsbury Park attacker, Darren Osbourne, was linked directly to any Far-Right organisation and so I don’t want to conflate him with those entities or further sensationalize this incident beyond the current narrative.
Read more: ‘The Truth About the Manchester Attack‘, ‘The June 3rd London Bridge Attack – Notes & Observations‘, ‘The Westminster Attack – Important Notes/Observations‘, ‘The 7/7 London Bombings – Everything the Media Won’t Tell You‘…