« Home | It's brown trousers time! (Again.) » | Schadenfreude is my best friend. » | Can't we burn her on a funeral pyre? » | Bourgeois superficiality. » | What is it good for? More sales of Powerpoint to t... » | Meanwhile... » | "Let The Jews Die". » | Uh, yeah, there was sort of a demonstration... » | Ceasefire now. » | What to believe? (Part two.) » 

Friday, August 11, 2006 

From the ridiculous to the ridiculous.

On grounds of pure tastelessness, today's Daily Mail front page couldn't have been much more potentially offensive, even if they'd asked Bernard Manning to tell one of his "jokes" and photographed him wearing his underpants.

Who honestly thought that the infamous photo of one of the planes crashing into the World Trade Centre was either relevant or suitable to illustrate a disrupted terror plot? Notice also the paper promises a "15 page special". Why not go the whole way and call it a souvenir issue?
Over on the Sexpress, things are a little calmer, but not by much. 24 suspects all British may not be very good English, but it otherwise simply parrots the official line of what we've been told so far. Nice of them to show us what a plane looks like though, as I'd forgotten.
The Mirror uses a huge photo of one the suspects, who allegedly only converted to Islam six months ago. Whether the naming of the suspects and publishing of their photographs is going to be helpful in the long run is unclear; those arrested may yet be released without charge, as has happened in the past. One of the confusing things seems to the number of apparent planes that were to blow up. The Guardian front page refers to the police saying up to twelve were to be targeted, the Sexpress and Star report 10, with the Mirror and Sun going for nine.
Speaking of the Scum, their take on this is "BOTTLE BOMBERS", which by their past standards of "PLOT TO KILL YOU" is rather tame. Rebekah Wade, or whichever moron it was that wrote the leader column though just can't let a great opportunity like this go to waste. Yep, it's time to attack the Human Rights Act again!

But while commending his appeal to Britain’s famous “stiff upper lip”, The Sun has a couple of questions.

What happened to Tony Blair’s 12-point anti-terror campaign announced with fanfare after last year’s London Tube bombs?

Why have we ditched plans to fast-track extradition of terror suspects, shut extremist mosques and deport preachers of hate?

Most important of all, why have ministers refused point blank to change or scrap the human rights laws which offer sanctuary to the fanatics who wish us harm?

Had the bombers triumphed over the Atlantic, nobody would be worrying about wrecked holidays.

They would be demanding to know why these promised – and desperately needed – national security measures were not already in place to protect us.

What happened to it? Parts of it were dropped because they were horribly unworkable. In the aftermath of the 7/7 bombings, Charles Clarke had kept in contact with the other home affairs spokesman, keeping open a dialogue about whether new laws were necessary. Both David Davis and Mark Oaten responded favourably. This though wasn't good enough for the Sun - it screamed about how it hoped the terrorists were away on holiday as well, as parliament broke up for its long break. In response, Blair made his "rules of the game are changing" speech, waiting until Clarke had gone off on holiday himself, in the process undermining and destroying his work in creating a cross-party consensus.

As for the Sun's individual points, the government has deported some extremist clerics, or in the case of Bakri Mohammad stopped him from re-entering the county. Other suspects are awaiting deportation, while the "memorandums of understanding" with countries that are known to practice torture are sorted out. Whether these will ever be acceptable in a court of law is unknown, and the government would be better off taking the accused men to trial. An insight into the mindset of some of these being held under anti-terror laws is reported in today's Grauniad. According to a Council of Europe investigation team, 3 of the former Belmarsh detainees have been admitted to Broadmoor, apparently suffering mental breakdowns. Another has been bailed to house arrest for health reasons. The team's report also warns of the possibility of multiple suicides. Not something the Sun would shed any tears over, but it shows the mental duress that those accused of something that they can't even defend themselves against undergo.

The plans to shut "extremist" mosques were rejected as unworkable, mainly because of the effect such closures would have on community relations. Even the Finchley Park mosque was eventually rid of Abu Hamza, showing that even if there are mosques which have extremist preachers, there is usually a power struggle between more moderate elements within them.

On to the best bit, the same old nonsense that the Human Rights Act offers sanctuary to fanatics. It doesn't. What the Human Rights Act does is strike a fine balance between the rights of the public, and between those of the accused. John Reid's failure to accept that some control orders breach the right to liberty and to a fair trial is the result of this government railroading through "tough" measures when they were repeatedly warned that doing so would be both counter-productive and fall foul of the Human Rights Act. Instead of recognising they were wrong, the politicians have instead turned to attacking one of New Labour's finest achievements, mainly because it's an easy scapegoat. The Scum is more than happy to oblige in this kicking of the smeared underdog, while blaming the government it has been so slavish in supporting in the past. Anyway, where do you start in changing the Human Rights Act? Do you remove the prohibition of torture, the right to a fair trial, or the right to liberty or security? Maybe the Sun would like to elaborate?
Finally then we come to the Star, which still manages to find space for a Big Brother story, which predictably involves one of the female contestants wearing as little clothing as possible, as "life goes on". That was certainly the message of the Big Brother contestants last year, who on being told of the 7/7 attacks on leaving the house apparently couldn't have cared less. Oh, and apparently everyone is saying "UP YOURS". No doubt the other evil-doers ready to murder us all in the name of Islamic fascism are shaking with fear at the Star's defiance. "Murdering scum foiled" is the other mantra of the day. Speaking of fascism, Richard "Dirty" Desmond, Sexpress and Star proprietor knows plenty about it, having in the past said that "all Germans are fucking Nazis", goose-stepped and led a stirring rendition of "Deutschland Uber Alles" during a meeting with Telegraph executives.

There's been very little said about the planned attacks today, except for 19 of the men being named and having their assets frozen by the Bank of England. No one else has been arrested, no explosives or materials which could have been turned into bombs have yet been found, although Pakistan is inferring that there are "indications of an "Afghanistan-based al-Qaida connection", something which has long been alleged of last year's bombs, but never proven. CNN is reporting that the men had not bought tickets, but were perusing internet sites and planning a dry run. As with all such information coming out, it should be taken with a pinch of salt. CNN also claims that two suspects had left "martyrdom tapes", without saying whether they had done this in Pakistan or Britain.
Whether these are the tapes of the kind that Mohammad Siddique Khan and Hamas suicide bombers routinely made or propaganda videos of the type freely available on the internet is unclear.

In other news, 35 people died in an actual terrorist attack yesterday.
The Guardian gave less than 100 words to its report of the explosion in the Iraqi city of Najaf. Six were also killed in a bomb attack in southern Baghdad. Ehud Olmert has given the go-ahead to an expansion of the ground invasion of southern Lebanon, while the US and France have just agreed on a revised text of the UN resolution, wrangling that has been going on for more than two weeks now, according to the BBC ticker. You don't need to be clairvoyant though to know what story is going to be leading the news tonight and in the morning's papers.

Share |

Links to this post

Create a Link