Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Look! Terrorists!

Be afraid. Be very afraid. Go on. Apparently the security services have foiled a "9/11 attack" on London. The Daily Mail, the Sun, and ITN News all say so. They have all apparently run with a story sourced to a nameless "senior authoritative source" who claims that the training of "suicide pilots" was interrupted, ostensibly by some sort of secret service operation. Strangely enough, this story broke in Britain's most rightwing media organisations on the morning of the Queen's Speech, in which the government is introducing a string of Home Office bills including ID cards and more anti-terrorist stuff. But don't worry though. After all, the source was helpful enough to tell the Mail that
"the threats were real and were not deliberately exaggerated for political purposes.

"This is not about politics, it's about hard work behind the scenes to stop what is a clear threat," the source said"
So that's all right then. A couple of questions - when was the trial of the "suicide pilots"? Surely the security services didn't just let them go. And - if MI5 can roll up a plot as serious as this without anyone noticing at all, what do we need yet more draconian rhetoric for? Do we really need a special civil (that is, no-evidence) order to ban people the authorities don't like from "using the internet" and send them to jail if they do>? Mind you, some people are pretty certain about these things:
"Well I'm not interested in, mm, me as a person, but we as a Government have to be tough."
This Blunkettism reminds me of an Armando Ianucci skit from about 1996 that showed Jack Straw as the hooded leader of the "Military Wing of the Labour Party", flanked by teams of gunmen chanting "TOUGH! TOUGH! TOUGH!". It's also a good reminder that even if David Blunkett isn't interested in himself as a person, he's certainly interested in you.

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