Dirty War

So…I saw the BBC's programme 'Dirty War' last night along with the after programme live audience discussion, and I must say I wasn't very impressed.
The programme itself was poorly written, not knowing whether to deal with the 'detection' of the bomb, the capturing of the terrorist cell or with the emergency planning around the event itself. It would have been better if they had focused on how, with their 'extensive' research, the emergency services would/would not cope with such an event. I'm not even going to start talking about the firefighter who removed his protective clothing to continue fighting a fire in a part of London that would be a 'no-go' area for the next 50 years…

The programme started with an exercise set in an office block, and here the makers were clearly referencing the Bank exercise that ran last year. It was during this exercise that the limitations of the protective suits, and the communication gear became apparent. Hopefully these problems will have been solved before we need to do this for real.

I did notice that the terrorists decided to irradiate East London, which is a bit of an 'own goal' as most of East London is Muslim in population, rendering Brick Lane uninhabitable would be a bit stupid…It's called Banglatown for a reason you know. I also found it amusing that they would blow up a bomb in my 'patch', if that day were anything like previous major incidents that I should have been involved in – I'd be sitting in the pub/someones party getting quietly drunk, and therefore being in no fit state to work.

There was a minor mention of the ease of gaining radioactive materials, for example in America 840 radioactive sources have been lost since 1997. Caesium has been offered for sale in Thailand, Bangladesh and Chechnya. All the usual suspects have shown serious interest in a 'Dirty bomb'.

There then followed a live discussion panel, which reminded me (as if I needed it) that the public are often really rather dense. Kudos to the representative from the Muslim Council of Britain for congratulating the programme makers for a balanced drama (although he couldn't see any Muslim victims of the bomb, which given the area it was detonated in, was laughable). Some of the callers however still moaned that the BBC was stirring up Islamaphobia. “Why couldn't it be unnamed terrorists” asked one caller, well I'm sorry to sayit but most of the terrorists in today's world (with a few exceptions) are indeed extremist Islamics. Then a member of the audience wanted to shout up a 'class war' point that it would be only the politicians who would be safe, which is a reasonable point – but not one that needed quite as much shouting and ranting.

Then discussion turned to the 'Preparing For Emergencies' booklet, which over half the audience said they had received and were critical of. However when asked how many had actually read it, a lot of hands went down…

One of the main complaints was that the booklet was 'patronising', well I'm sorry, but dealing when with the geniuses of the general public, I'd say it had to be written simply so people could understand it.

There then followed a lot of repeating the same questions, followed by repeating of the same answers and from then on I sat there grinding my teeth in despair at the great British public.

So at the end of the evening, very little was shown about terrorist threats or what to do in the event of a dirty bomb and nothing new was known about the governments response to such an event. I would suggest that most people went away from the programme more frightened than before, and with very little to reassure them.

My next large post will be about what the LAS (and by extension, myself) will be doing in the event of a Major Incident.

10 thoughts on “Dirty War”

  1. I watched the same program and came back with pretty much the same points. I was looking at it more in a fire service way, and just figured that the way it was all portrayed wasnt helpful at all.Theres probably a better way to deal with the “education” part. Perhaps a documentary type thing, following one person through contamination decontamination and healthcare afterwards.

    Wavey

  2. Watched it too, not from a professional emergency services view, but I thought it was excellent for a general audience — and, yes, the general audience in the discussion afterward demonstrated just how much education is needed on this subject. As for East London being an “own goal”, though, since when has potentially injuring Muslims who stand in the way ever stopped these murderers? (more)

  3. Watched it too, not from a professional emergency services view, but I thought it was excellent for a general audience — and, yes, the general audience in the discussion afterward demonstrated just how much education is needed on this subject. As for East London being an “own goal”, though, since when has potentially injuring Muslims who stand in the way ever stopped these murderers? (more)

  4. Stopped watching anything like that, I live close enough to Heathrow to know that at some point a major disaster likely to occur around here (accidental or not) and I refuse to go about my life worrying about things I have absolutely no control over and wondering if the man sitting next to me on the bus is about to release some chemical weapons. Read the preparing for emergencies booklet when it came through the letterbox and found it very reminiscent of protect and survive and I have a feeling it will raise the same smiles in a few years time, still it did not stop me making sure there is a spare packet of batteries in the drawer for the radio. As for the own goal… snap (enough hijabs, cash transfer shops and halal butchers to make it a safer part of London) and it's not just about killing muslims whihc i agree would not be that much of a deterrent but mainly about destroying a major hub in the financing of various organisations, not a very wise move to bite the hand that feeds you. Anyway at the moment the big worry around her is not so much do the emergency services have enough decontamination units but is it ok to walk home at night while the Police have not found the hammer murderer.

  5. I thik there are some people who would debate with you on the following point – I quote:”well I'm sorry to sayit but most of the terrorists in today's world (with a few exceptions) are indeed extremist Islamics”

    I suppose it depends upon how you define “terrorism”.

    I agree with you that the programme was disappointing. I only caught the end of it – and didn't bother with the after-discussions.

  6. I'm intrigued by the responses above, especially Jag – You agree that the programme was disappointing, yet you didn't watch most of it?I'm just grateful that the BBC still bothers running sensible things like that. What was it up against on ITV – “One Hundred Great Cat Moments!”? But having said that, if plans to dumb down Panorama go ahead, I'll be flogging my TV.

  7. This can't be true! I live in the US, and all we hear is how every other country but ours, is prepared for terrorism! 😉 Oh..it was BBC. THAT explains the slant to the programming.Good work. Continue on.

    Radtec

  8. Let me break down the bull*h&t listed in the article you site on missing rad materials;”The gauge, used to measure how well the dirt is packed under roadways and pipelines, contains harmful radioactive material.”

    Harmful- How is it harmful in it's current state? It isn't of course. All 'radioactive material' is labelled as 'harmful/cancer causing/life threatening' if anyone but the licensed user has posession..if you listen to the mainstream press idiots. If I were going to mess with dirty bombs, ripping off a 'SEALED SOURCE like a Troxler guage sure wouldn't be worth the time. But, they want you to believe the average use product is going to misteriously transform into a 'killing' product. What crap!

    “Similar material can be found in a broad array of equipment, including cancer radiation therapy machines, irradiation devices used to sterilize food, gamma ray cameras used in pipeline construction, and even unlikely devices such as a highway “exit” sign illuminated by radioactive material.”

    More BS. Trying to remove a sealed source from any of these devices isn't worth the effort of even the most stupid terrorist . Too time consuming and easy to get caught. And, there haven't been tritium filled 'exit' signs manufactured anywhere in over 30 years. We certainly don't use them as 'highway' exit signs so I have no clue where the reporter drug that bit of ancient history up from. Luminescent paints are the 'trip' now..not H-3 signage.

    It's all part of the scare and be scared tactic. Sensational, right?

  9. The comment about being down the pub or drunk when a Major Incident was declared raised a smile. It was before my time, but I was told about this by the A & E staff when I was doing my training. When the IRA blew up Mill Hill Barracks in London, a Major Incident was declared. They didn't figure on it being the birthday of the A & E Sister at Edgware General. Most of the staff were round her house, very drunk! Fortunately there were very few casualties. Bound to happen again, though….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *