If it seems like only yesterday that UK media reported on a threat to London of multiple, simultaneous terror attacks — well, that’s because it (almost) was.
On Wednesday, LU featured a Monday report from the UK Independent that police in the London metro, along with army units on standby, were “preparing to deal with” as many as 10 terror attacks at a time across the city. The intelligence prompting their concern traced partly to the recent indictment of a gun-running gang with jihadi ties. The report, sourced originally through the Sunday Times, quoted a government official alluding to the Paris shootings in November:
The unnamed minister was quoted as saying: “We used to plan for three simultaneous attacks but Paris has shown that you need to be ready for more than that.
“We are ready if someone tries with seven, eight, nine, ten.”
The attacks in Brussels on Tuesday, 22 March, certainly seem to amplify the import of this warning. Alert reader “rambler” asked a pointed question at our Web Crawler post:
Prepare for attacks? Aren’t the powers that be supposed to prevent those attacks?
And that’s an excellent question. The fascinating priorities of the Metropolitan Police may shed some light on it.
See what you think: the illustration here is the story of a PR man named Matthew Doyle, who admittedly seems to be a bit of a git. He’s a partner with a London talent agency (or at least he was), and on Wednesday, he tweeted the following:
The tweet has since been deleted, although given the other tweets put up by Doyle, which he has left in place, I doubt that he deleted it himself. A flavor of some of the other tweets (language warning):
He’s not, perhaps, Britain’s finest example of a UKIP supporter (he talks up the UKIP in his tweet stream. along with Donald Trump and some other usual-suspect people and things). He caught all kinds of grief from other Tweeps, as one would expect. There’s no excuse for him.
But — and maybe this won’t surprise you all that much these days — the kicker is that the police hastened to arrest him for “inciting racial hatred.”
Notice that they didn’t arrest him for making a threat involving a suicide belt. There’s at least some argument to be made, however weak, for a police visit on that head.
No, they arrested him for “inciting racial hatred.” What does that even mean? What is the material outcome that offense has in view? That some guy saying “towel head” or being rude to a stranger is going to — what? Cause other people to show increased hatred toward Muslims?
“Inciting” means this offense isn’t about how Muslims feel when they encounter the unseemly commentary of Mr. Doyle. It’s about what Doyle’s words may incite other people to do. But what is that, exactly? Where are the examples of such “incitement” leading to outcomes that are the law’s business?
A century ago, the popular character Mr. Dooley famously proclaimed, “The law is a ass!” I believe we can say it’s official now. The law is most definitely a ass. It “prepares” for terror attacks — God forbid it should profile anyone, or arrest a mass murderer before his time — but it breaks world speed records to arrest some guy who tweets silly things and claims to have been rude to a Muslim.