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Balancing Fear: Why Counter-Terror Legislation was Blocked after the Oklahoma City and London Bombings
Unformatted Document Text:  member that had entered England via a Channel port two weeks before the blasts, left the UK a few hours before the bombings. Moreover, the explosives used in the bombings were similar to those used by al-Qaeda 15 . A year after the bombings, al-Qaeda’s spiritual leader Ayman al-Zawahiri claimed that two of the bombers had been trained for suicide operations at an al-Qaeda camp 16 . Though there are clearly tensions between Britain’s Muslim and Christian populations, the attacks were not as “home-grown” as initially reported. Indeed, terrorism analyst Peter Bergen stated a year after the bombings that, “the London attacks were a classic al-Qaeda operation and not the work of self-starting terrorists as has been repeatedly suggested in the media” 17 . It turns out, then, that this was one case of international terrorism that was framed by the media as an attack by local elements. The response to the London attacks, thus, may have been more muted due to this local- framing by the media (as opposed to the media framing the attack as perpetrated by foreign forces and part of a larger war) 18 . As will be seen below, this media framing had little to do with how Tony Blair sought to shape the threat. II. Executive Response At the time of the bombings, Tony Blair was hosting the G-8 meetings in Scotland. That day, he made a statement framing the threat of terrorism as war, stating that, “It is important … that those engaged in terrorism realize that our determination to defend our values and our way of life is greater than their determination to cause death 15 On the bombers, see BBC News, “The London Bombers: Key Facts,” 21 July 2005, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4676861.stm. 16 CBS News, “Video: 2 London Bombers were al-Qaeda,” 7 July 2006, http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/07/07/terror/main1784741.shtml. 17 CNN.com, “Horror of 7/7 Attacks Remembered,” 7 July 2006, http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/europe/07/07/london.bombings/index.html. 18 I would like to thank Norma Connolly of Montclair State University for making this point. 9

Authors: Rubin, Gabriel.
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member that had entered England via a Channel port two weeks before the blasts, left the
UK a few hours before the bombings. Moreover, the explosives used in the bombings
were similar to those used by al-Qaeda
. A year after the bombings, al-Qaeda’s spiritual
leader Ayman al-Zawahiri claimed that two of the bombers had been trained for suicide
operations at an al-Qaeda camp
Though there are clearly tensions between Britain’s Muslim and Christian
populations, the attacks were not as “home-grown” as initially reported. Indeed,
terrorism analyst Peter Bergen stated a year after the bombings that, “the London attacks
were a classic al-Qaeda operation and not the work of self-starting terrorists as has been
repeatedly suggested in the media
. It turns out, then, that this was one case of
international terrorism that was framed by the media as an attack by local elements. The
response to the London attacks, thus, may have been more muted due to this local-
framing by the media (as opposed to the media framing the attack as perpetrated by
foreign forces and part of a larger war)
. As will be seen below, this media framing had
little to do with how Tony Blair sought to shape the threat.
II. Executive Response
At the time of the bombings, Tony Blair was hosting the G-8 meetings in
Scotland. That day, he made a statement framing the threat of terrorism as war, stating
that, “It is important … that those engaged in terrorism realize that our determination to
defend our values and our way of life is greater than their determination to cause death
15
On the bombers, see BBC News, “The London Bombers: Key Facts,” 21 July 2005,
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4676861.stm.
16
CBS News, “Video: 2 London Bombers were al-Qaeda,” 7 July 2006,
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/07/07/terror/main1784741.shtml.
17
CNN.com, “Horror of 7/7 Attacks Remembered,” 7 July 2006,
http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/europe/07/07/london.bombings/index.html.
18
I would like to thank Norma Connolly of Montclair State University for making this point.
9


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