Sept 22 2010
Not fast enough it seems. However, what should happen if within 24 hours those supposed ‘Muslim terrorists’ are freed without charge?
Well, you would expect someone to feel a little aggrieved that a whole religion has been tarnished in one’s insane bid to get the word ‘Muslims’ in a negative headline.
When six men were arrested by counter-terrorism police probing a plot to attack the Pope last week it was only a matter of time before we saw something like this on the front page of a national newspaper.
But soon enough it transpired these cleaners who were not really part of some worldwide plot to kill the Pope.
Hey, they were arrested at gunpoint so that must mean they were up to no good. Maybe the Metropolitan Police have a lot to answer for too.
Have we really come to a situation where it matters more to get the word Muslims in the headline at almost any cost than using simple common sense?
Will all ‘Muslims’ be getting some sort of apology on the front page of a newspaper in the near future? After all it was ‘Muslims’ who were plotting to kill the Pope?
It seems news organisations have learnt very little over the years. Whilst others simply don’t want too.
I’m sure we can expect more of the same in the coming weeks, months and years. This has after all become kind of acceptable in some quarters. Even if it is written by intelligent, well-spoken people behind desks.
Muslim Plot To Kill Pope
Islamic terrorists allegedly hatched a plot to blow up the pope
By John Twomey, David Pilditch and Nathan Rao – The Daily Express (UK)
ISLAMIC terrorists disguised as street cleaners allegedly hatched an audacious plot to blow up the Pope.
The threatened attack was foiled at the 11th hour after police raided a cleaning depot in London as the suspects prepared to start their shift yesterday.
Last night six men – all believed to be North Africans aged between 26 and 50 – were being questioned by detectives.
Five suspects were detained at the cleaning depot and the sixth was held at his home yesterday afternoon.
Searches were being carried out at 10 addresses across the capital and police seized computers, mobile phones and other items.
Pope Benedict XVI was said to have remained “totally calm” when he was informed about the threat yesterday morning.
A £1.5million ring of steel has been put in place for the first official Papal visit to Britain and security procedures were immediately reviewed but the Pontiff’s schedule continued as planned.
It is feared plotters with links to Al Qaeda planned “a double blow to the infidel” by assassinating the head of the Roman Catholic church and slaughtering hundreds of pilgrims and well-wishers.
The suspected plot was smashed after Scotland Yard officers swooped on the depot in Marylebone, central London, at 5.45am after a tip-off just hours earlier.
A security source said last night: “We had to act and arrest them. We had reasonable grounds to suspect they would carry out an attack.
“We could not take the risk that they would mount an attack on the Pope which might lead to his death and the deaths of many others.”
The suspects worked for Veolia Environmental Services, a contractor employing 650 staff to keep the streets of Westminster clean.
The depot was searched by officers from the Yard’s Counter Terrorism Command. A second business premises was also searched. Officers later carried out raids on eight residential properties in north and east London, searching for weapons, bomb-making materials, maps and other suspicious items.
The five men detained are aged 26, 27, 36, 40 and 50. At least three are believed to originate from Algeria while a fourth is thought to be a Tunisian national. A sixth man, aged 29, was arrested at a house in north London. The suspects were being detained last night at a central London police station on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.
The depot where the men worked is less than a mile from Hyde Park where Pope Benedict is due to hold a prayer vigil this evening. His well-publicised route takes him along The Mall past Buckingham Palace.
Up to 85,000 worshippers have been issued special “pilgrim’s passes”, with ticket holders having to arrive up to five hours before the Pope. As street cleaners the men would have been able to move freely and inconspicuously through the crowds.
An investigation is also under way to determine if the foreign nationals had entered Britain legally and were entitled to work here.
Last night a Scotland Yard spokesman said: “As a result of the arrests policing arrangements for the Papal visit were reviewed and we are satisfied that our policing plan remains appropriate. The itinerary has not changed and there is no change to the threat level.”
He added: “The initial searches have not uncovered any hazardous items.”
Last night, Gian Paul, 31, owner of a restaurant near the cleaning depot, said: “When I arrived this morning there were tons of police with dogs.
“The cops ran in and said they were from immigration. They made them all stand up – the guy who told me said he felt like he was in a film.
“All the employees were made to put their hands on their heads. Then more police came in and took some of the workers away.
“The man who told me about this didn’t know the names of the people who were arrested.”
Dr Leith Penny, of Westminster City Council, said: “Security is of critical importance and can never be taken for granted and so our congratulations must go to the police authorities for their swift action.”
The German-born Pontiff was alerted of the threat yesterday morning, the day after his arrival in Britain for the historic four-day visit.
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said: “We are totally confident in the work of the police and Scotland Yard.
“They have already said that the information that they have collected demonstrates there is no need to change anything on the programme of the Pope and the security measures.”
Last night a Vatican source said: “Publicly the incident is being played down but privately the arrests verge towards the serious side and came as a result of intelligence work.”
Senior police officers said there was no information ahead of the visit to suggest any “specific group” wanted to attack the Pope.
A spokesman for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales said: “We have absolute confidence in the security operation to protect both the Pope and the public. The Pope is enjoying a wonderful visit, warmly welcomed wherever he goes.”
The alleged plot is believed to be the second planned assassination on the Pope recently. In April, Moroccan students Mohamed Hlal, 26, and Ahmed Errahmouni, 22, were deported from Italy, strengthening fears that Al Qaeda were seeking recruits there.