Clem Sunter


2012-12-05 14:24

Clem Sunter

In July 2005, Chantell Ilbury and I were asked jointly to facilitate a strategy session for one of Britain's largest companies at a venue near Glasgow in Scotland. As we were being driven back to the airport to fly down to London, I noticed a huge number of policeman stationed around the place. I asked the driver for a reason. Oh, he said, it is the G8 summit in Edinburgh and there have already been protests. Good time to attack London, he added, if you were a terrorist.

The following morning, I went for a walk from my hotel to Kensington Gardens and decided to get a cab back. There were no taxis around so I eventually walked back to the hotel. I said to the concierge that the congestion charge had obviously reduced the number of taxis on the road, and he replied that the reason was a power surge on the tube system. I thought how odd, and when I got up to my room I switched on the television to see if there was anything about it. The first thing I saw was a double-decker bus with its roof blown off. This was the morning when 52 civilians were killed by four suicide bombers on that bus and in the underground. Over 700 people were also injured.

At lunchtime, I walked across Westminster Bridge carrying my case to catch a train to Salisbury as the main line stations were re-opening that afternoon. Halfway across the bridge, I looked either way and I was the only object on the entire bridge. I wondered how often in the history of the bridge had there been only one person on it in the middle of the day. Very seldom and then two things struck me - what the driver said the previous evening and the fact that the day was the 7th day of the 7th month where the number 7 carries great significance for several religions.

Why tell this story? Because a significant date in the Mayan Calendar is about to happen. On the 21st December 2012, the present era of Mayan history ends and a new cycle begins. People have talked of the end of the world but actually it could be the beginning of a new phase of spiritual and physical transformation. Be that as it may, what concerns me is that terrorist movements know that this is a highly symbolic date and might be planning something somewhere. If you recall, Richard Reid tried to board a flight to America from Paris on December 21st 2001. He was the unsuccessful shoe bomber and because he only managed to travel the following night, the fuse in his shoe was too damp to ignite on account of rain and perspiration. That was a stroke of luck for the passengers on the same American Airlines flight.

Although the odds are low of another major incident, if I was a Western intelligence agency, I would be on a heightened state of alert and would be asking the public to have extra ears and eyes over the next 16 days. Anything suspicious should be reported and followed up. Earlier this year I met a group from MIT one of whom was a young woman who headed up the scenario planning team in Homeland Security in the US. I have a hunch the TV series called Homeland could be based on her as she was extremely bright. Anyway, we discussed whether scenarios should cover paranormal phenomena or just keep to the basics of envisaging rational threats. We decided that you have to cover all angles by putting yourself into the mind of the enemy, however wacky that mind is.

I  sincerely hope 21.12.12 passes peacefully for all the inhabitants of this world and indeed a new era of constructive dialogue among warring nations is ushered in. But keep your fingers crossed.

Send your comments to Clem

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

- News24


One cup to rule them all

2014-10-31 13:56


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Sales Executive

Western Cape
Cozens Recruitment Group ( Western Cape)
R20 000 - R25 000 Per Month

Creditors Clerk Cape Town CBD

Cape Town CBD
Service Solutions Staffing

Shop Sales Assistant - Retail

Cape Town Southern Suburbs
Wise Choice Recruitment
R3 000 - R4 000 Per Month

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now! - shop online today

Save up to R2100 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at While stocks last. Shop now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Hot offer: Up to 50% off irons

Save up to 50% on all Philips irons. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


There may be some tension that is caused through social conflicts -- personal interests versus obligations. You may feel more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.