Clem Sunter

21.12.12

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.


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