Why do we have Anti-Terrorist Hotline in Cardiff? (More poster madness.)

These chemicals won't be used in a bomb because a neighbour reported the dumped containers.

Just a couple of days ago, I mentioned some really odd police posters I’d seen in Cardiff. This isn’t about those posters. (At least those police ones were trying to make some kind of valid point, but failed.)

It’s about the ones that say “These chemicals won’t be used in a bomb because a neighbour reported the dumped containers” and the like. I’ve only seen one so far, on Clare Road in Cardiff just now. When I say poster, it’s actually a huge billboard.

Cory Doctorow already did a pretty fine job of covering the lunacy and “socially corrosive” effect of these posters in London. So I won’t rehash what he said.

I’m mainly here to point out the amplified ridiculousness of having this poster displayed in Cardiff, Wales – where we have no living memory of bomb planting nor acts of terrorism. (Correct me if I’m in any way wrong on that. Sheesh.)

Is this a threat now? Do they know something we don’t? The answer to both those questions is “no”. If London doesn’t need this, we in Cardiff really don’t need this. Clare Road is a main road running through Grangetown – which enjoys fairly decent levels of respect and integration between different people, thanks very much.

I can think of several things more appropriate and meaningful to do in the locality than reporting my neighbour because they might appear to have weird hobbies. Here’s the spot on Google Street View. You might prefer to remember it as the location where the band Super Furry Animals did a couple of photoshoots.

The remixes of the posters are well worth a look – a great antidote to the fear mongering.

19 Replies to “Why do we have Anti-Terrorist Hotline in Cardiff? (More poster madness.)”

  1. Neil, I am partially a foreign! Chinese and English…

    I am more conscious about taking my bulky backpack on the Tube. Mainly because I wouldn’t want to be mistaken for a Brazilian.

    Rhys, ah yes. Well, these days there are much more likely ways to get hurt than at the hands of Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru. Do they even exist anymore? Even back then they had a tendency to blow themselves up accidentally…

    I keep coming back to the Grouch.

  2. I’m (slightly) shocked, that such posters have made it to Wales. I wonder how many other regional cities, towns and provinces are covered by the campaign.

    Unfortunately, the campaign isn’t an April Fools Joke. It wouldn’t be at all funny if it was.

  3. …bear in mind that the 7/7 bombers came from sleepy Leeds & Luton, that Gloucester had a would-be-bomber, and most recently someone tried to blow up a restauraunt in Exeter! Not saying Cardiff itself is a target, but if I was in the bombing business I’d be living in suburbia, or where people would look at posters like this and say, “What here? You’re having a laugh..”

  4. I think that it’s incredibly unlikely that this hotline would help to prevent an act of terrorism. I just can’t think of a reasonable scenario where that would happen. I also doubt very much that anyone has a reason for assuming that Cardiff is a terrorist target.

    It’s essentially just paranoia. Say it with me, people: If we turn against each other, the terrorists win!

  5. have to say, I agree with PC…there was a bombscare a few years ago in Cardiff Queen Street on a sunny sunday – the street was blocked off for ages.

    If ‘they’ know something we don’t – fine- that’s what ‘they’ are paid for and why we have intelligence services.

    Not sure if a special hotline is needed – hopefully common sense would prevail and people would call the police.

  6. Claire, do you have a link to details about the Queen Street incident you’re referring to?

    Did “intelligence” have anything to do with this recent anti-terror raid? That was also in Grangetown, about 15 minutes on foot from the poster site. I’m pretty sure it was before the poster appeared. But still, not nice for the family involved.

  7. PC does have a point in the ‘it’s as likely here as anywhere’ line (or more accurately, as unlikely here as anywhere). But more generally what do these posters hope to achieve? There seems to be no logical motive apart from the ulterior one of making us feel afraid as part of a political campaign. If so, did they really sit down and say this out loud to each other? They can’t have any effect on actual policing. I know many terrorists are not masterminds, but even so if I have a collection of things labelled ‘My First Bomb Making Kit’ I’d at least put it at the bottom of my bin (actually they wouldn’t take that bin away – lid won’t close – that’s how we’ll catch ’em!). Or if I wanted to photograph CCTV cameras I wouldn’t do it wearing my ‘I’m a terrorist’ outfit, I might you know, disguise my activity somehow.
    Anyway, no-one would attack Cardiff – we have Torchwood.

  8. Unfortunately Carlos, I know a little about this.

    Operation Contest is a nationwide police operation against terrorism concentrating on the below.

    To Prevent
    To Protect
    To Prepare
    To Pursue

    Theres massive amounts of public funds going into this project especially under the prevention agenda. Nationally known as preventing violent extremism (PVE)which is where millions of pounds are being put into community led projects (the ones who are happy to take the cash to promote police agendas, anyway).

    There are also officers being recruited for every Operational Command Unit in England and Wales into the hilariously named CTU.

  9. Anyway as I was saying…
    A Blackwood man was arrested under the terrorism act last week…
    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2009/04/06/blackwood-man-arrested-under-terrorism-act-91466-23326699/

    …and a Preston man was arrested this week after explosives components were found during a police search in Lancashire.
    http://uk.news.yahoo.com/21/20090409/tuk-man-arrested-after-explosives-found-6323e80.html

    However Cardiff is safe in the hands of Captain Jack.

  10. There’s a massive version of that poster near where I live, by the railbridge and the football ground.

    I think it’s totally, totally disgusting. Whoever put that poster there (the government?) is lying to serve their own agenda. Get everyone scared of terrorist bogeymen so they can whittle away further at our rights and freedoms.

    The poster says “These chemicals won’t be used in a bomb because a neighbour reported”, but the ‘chemicals’ in the photo were never going to be used for a bomb because the photo is a FAKE:

    – who would leave evidence of terrorism not only in their own bin but right at the top, sticking out at a jaunty angle?

    – not so obvious on the web, but in poster form the background has been dropped out of focus using a wide aperture for an artistic look and to focus attention on the bin. Not the sort of thing you’d do if you were taking a photo for evidence (where you’d want the subject and contecx to be as clear as possible) but certainly plays on the emotions

    – and that out of focus background allows the (skilled, manipulative) photographer to place a woman and a baby in the scene without having them identifiable. How long did he wait for a mother and baby to happen along, to evocatively contrast with the hazard warnings on the chemical bottles and to remind us that “evil terrorists kill innocent people, like say, innocent mothers and babies”? Or are they models?

    ——-

    Are adverts allowed to straight out lie?
    And it’s such a stupid, obvious lie. I just hope people aren’t stupid enough to fall for it.

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