The new extended 28 day limit on holding terrorist suspects without charge is now in effect. What chance the power that be will be looking to use that 28 day limit to the full for political reasons, irrespective of whether it's actually necessary? Hmm...
Time will tell but right now, I'm fairly confident that at least some of those arrested last week will be held for the full 28 days before being charged. The government and the police are still smarting over the defeat of the 90 day proposal. A crisis is also an opportunity, after all.
Given that the suspects are just that, suspects, it is difficult to comment on the alleged plot in a meaningful way while staying on the right side of moral integrity. It's clearly not something which bothers John Reid unduly but that's no reason for everyone else to forget that there are rules of acceptable behaviour when it comes to this sort of thing. Whether this alleged plot was real or not is something for the courts to decide.
What I will say is that the timing of these arrests, regardless of whether the plot was real or not, looks likely to have been politically motivated. Remember that Blair was facing signs of open revolt just before this all kicked off. A member of the government had resigned (a minor one admittedly but noises off were strongly suggesting there were more to follow) and a large number of Labour MPs were demanding the recall of parliament to discuss British policy with regard to the crisis in Lebanon. Those "evil terrorists" soon put paid to that sort of talk.
If you think Blair's government is above manipulating the timing of events like these in order to serve their own best interests, well, where have you been these last five years? Sending tanks to Heathrow in the run up to the Iraq war just a few days before the largest demonstration in British history is the most obvious example of this government's willingness to manipulate what is undoubtedly a very real threat of terrorism to further their own agenda. What use is a tank against a terrorist exactly? I mean, behave. Tanks do make for very theatrical images for the front pages of the newspapers though. And there have been plenty more examples of this sort of thing.
There might be political advantages attached to this behaviour, Blair clearly thinks there are, but as counter-terrorism, it's dangerously self-defeating. As I've said many times before, the terrorists are trying to frighten us. The government isn't supposed to help.
On the first day of the crisis, it was Paul Stephenson, the Metropolitan police deputy commissioner (apparently big Blair's new mouthpiece now that little Blair's reputation has been all but destroyed), who said "This was intended to be mass murder on an unimaginable scale." The report does not record whether he was foaming at the mouth as he made the statement.
In the meantime, in Iraq, people are now being killed at a rate of 110 per day (via). Woe betide anyone who tries to describe that as a crisis though. What are you, some sort of bin Laden sympathising, Iraqi hating, cowardly defeatist? Things down there are going splendidly. And it's only the sand n.....rs and some working class cannon fodder who're being killed. This plot in Britain was about killing IMPORTANT people. Middle class people with frequent flyer cards and wireless laptops. Can't you tell the difference, you leftist freaks?
Tags: News, Politics, Iraq, Terrorism, Tony Blair