To guard against the bites of sharks

A quick rant to get me up to speed… I remember reading this on Sunday.

Police foil gas attack on Commons

With a title like that you’d expect that there’d actually been an attempt to launch a gas attack on the Commons, and that the police had foiled it, wouldn’t you? Well, if you considered the Sunday Times a reliable source you might, anyway.

Except that, even according to “an internal police document obtained by The Sunday Times” (read: handed to) there was no attempted attack…

This weekend a senior officer disclosed that the thwarted plot mentioned in the document involved a gas or chemical “dirty bomb” attack against parliament. “The House of Commons was one of their targets as well as the Tube,” he said.

“They were planning to use chemicals, a dirty bomb and sarin gas. They looked at all sorts of ways of delivering it.”

…there was some sort of mention of some sort of plan at some point in some email somewhere. Apparently “extensive research and video-recorded reconnaissance missions” took place as well, though there’s no indication of any research or video actually having been discovered, or anyone in the “Al-Qaeda cell” concerned having been arrested or blown up or anything. We are then told that, in response to these discoveries, security on the Commons was stepped up, and this was the reason that no attack took place, hence “foil”. The idea that even if you take it as read that said emails were found, plans involved might have been wild speculation, utterly unrealistic or just abandoned for no reason is of course ridiculous.

So, let’s see. No gas, no attack and no indication that the police foiled anything turns into “Police foil gas attack on Commons”. The British press at its best.

There’s still a little part of me that reads these stories whenever they come out at politically opportune moments and thinks “no, hold on, it might be true, I’ll wait to see the evidence, if it’s true they’ll back it up surely” and the evidence never arrives. That part of me is a little mute today as it is currently still suffering from ricin poisoning. Nasty stuff, ricin.

Edit: Yes, yes, I know, Sunday Times, fish, barrel.

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