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France warns citizens about UK travel


Ulster-Lad

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Interista

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Seems like every country is in a race with the others to warn their citizens against travel to just about every other country these days. I guess it's good for their domestic tourism businesses.
 

slx

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The warning was issued yesterday, 05/10/2010:

[France-Diplomatie-Ministère des Affaires étrangères et européennes] ROYAUME-UNI

Dernière mise à jour : le 5 octobre 2010.
Les autorités britanniques estiment que le niveau de menace terroriste est très élevé au Royaume-Uni et que le risque d’un attentat est fort probable. Il est recommandé de faire preuve d’une extrême vigilance dans les transports publics et les sites touristiques les plus fréquentés.

Last Updated: 5 October, 2010.
British authorities believe that the terrorist threat level is very high in the United Kingdom and the risk of an attack is highly likely. It is advisable to exercise extreme vigilance in public transport and heavily frequented tourist sites.
 

Interista

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It is advisable to exercise extreme vigilance in public transport and heavily frequented tourist sites.
I'm never entirely sure what governments mean when they urge their citizens to 'exercise extreme vigilance'? Scrutinise all your fellow passengers in case they've got a suicide bomb belt? Or is it just a beer belly? Scan the crowds in 'heavily frequented tourist sites' just in case one of them is toting a gun under his jacket?

To me, it's basically a way for governments to say 'Well, we're not going as far as to tell you not to go to such and such a city, but if anything does happen, you can't say we didn't warn you: we did urge you to 'exericise extreme vigilance' after all."
 

damon

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I'm never entirely sure what governments mean when they urge their citizens to 'exercise extreme vigilance'? Scrutinise all your fellow passengers in case they've got a suicide bomb belt? Or is it just a beer belly? Scan the crowds in 'heavily frequented tourist sites' just in case one of them is toting a gun under his jacket?

To me, it's basically a way for governments to say 'Well, we're not going as far as to tell you not to go to such and such a city, but if anything does happen, you can't say we didn't warn you: we did urge you to 'exericise extreme vigilance' after all."
You got in one Interista.
I always thought that the easiest route to a ''terrorist spectacular'' was just to have some guys shooting up the morning rush hour train stations and the like.
Only use a few people each time. And you could strike fear into a whole city.
 

Interista

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You got in one Interista.
I always thought that the easiest route to a ''terrorist spectacular'' was just to have some guys shooting up the morning rush hour train stations and the like.
Only use a few people each time. And you could strike fear into a whole city.
I agree. You have to do everything short of strip naked (and probably that's next) to get anywhere near a plane these days, but there are precisely no security checks getting onto public transport which carries huge numbers of people. We have seen this to devastating effect in London and Madrid, yet nobody warned their citizens to be 'extremely vigilant' in the runup to those bombings. And would it have helped anyone if they had?
 

Sync

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It wouldn't really. But what else can they do? If the govt hear an increase in chatter about an attack, should they not alert the public to that? And once it's public should foreign affairs depts not wanr their citizens about going there?
 

Interista

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It wouldn't really. But what else can they do? If the govt hear an increase in chatter about an attack, should they not alert the public to that? And once it's public should foreign affairs depts not wanr their citizens about going there?
It's a tough one. I do have some sympathy for governments in that they're 'dammed if they do, dammed if they don't' in such situations. However, if the alleged threat is not deemed serious enough for governments to actually warn their citizens against travelling to a certain city/country, is there really any point in telling them to 'exercise extreme vigilance' since it's hard to see precisely how an ordinary citizen's 'vigilance' can help them? Also, the more such vague warnings are issued, only for nothing to happen, the more it makes it likely that more specific warnings will be ignored because of what is perceived as the 'crying wolf' syndrome.
 

Clanrickard

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It's a tough one. I do have some sympathy for governments in that they're 'dammed if they do, dammed if they don't' in such situations. However, if the alleged threat is not deemed serious enough for governments to actually warn their citizens against travelling to a certain city/country, is there really any point in telling them to 'exercise extreme vigilance' since it's hard to see precisely how an ordinary citizen's 'vigilance' can help them? Also, the more such vague warnings are issued, only for nothing to happen, the more it makes it likely that more specific warnings will be ignored because of what is perceived as the 'crying wolf' syndrome.
So they should say nothing?
 

Interista

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So they should say nothing?
Like I just said, it's a tough one. I certainly wouldn't want to have the responsibility of deciding whether to issue warnings or not in any given situation, and have sympathy with those who are taxed with making such decisions. But like I also said, I just don't see the point of these 'exercise extreme vigilance' warnings. I mean, just how 'vigilant' can or should an ordinary citizen be while on holiday, orgoing to work on the tube or whatever, and what good does being 'extremely vigilant' do anyway? Warnings of this type seem a bit of a fudge to me.
 

Jakey

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I don't think these warnings are just directed at citizens - I think they are also intended to send a message to the terrorists themselves, a kind of "we know what you're up to" message, which might perhaps lead them to desist from launching any immediate attacks. If you look at Northern Ireland, for instance, a huge number of "operations" were called off at the last minute when the Provos thought things didn't smell right. These people aren't stupid - if they think the whole of London will be on alert, then they might well decide that discretion is the better part of valour and bide their time until another, easier opportunity presents itself. It does suggest, though, that the security services are quite desperate.
 

Interista

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If you look at Northern Ireland, for instance, a huge number of "operations" were called off at the last minute when the Provos thought things didn't smell right
Yes, but I'd imagine that was because they found out that the police had been tipped off about an impending 'operation' and would be able not only to prevent it but to arrest all those involved if it did go ahead. The fact that these warnings are so very vague - the US government was at one point referring to the possibility of attacks in "Europe" - makes it obvious that they really don't have a clue where any possible attack might be likely to happen. And the millions of people who live in London and commute there every day are not going to suddenly put themselves on high alert because the French have told their citizens to 'exercise extreme vigilance'.
 

Jakey

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The fact that these warnings are so very vague - the US government was at one point referring to the possibility of attacks in "Europe" - makes it obvious that they really don't have a clue where any possible attack might be likely to happen. And the millions of people who live in London and commute there every day are not going to suddenly put themselves on high alert because the French have told their citizens to 'exercise extreme vigilance'.
The warnings have been much more specific than that - in one case, a particular hotel (the Adlon in Berlin) was even mentioned. I take your point about the public, but I think it's the heightened readiness of the security services rather than of citizens that would cause the terrorists to think twice.
 

Twin Towers

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The warnings have been much more specific than that - in one case, a particular hotel (the Adlon in Berlin) was even mentioned. I take your point about the public, but I think it's the heightened readiness of the security services rather than of citizens that would cause the terrorists to think twice.
Might make them think twice if like the IRA the bombers are planning to escape but not if the bombers are preparing to blow themselves up with their victims.
 
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