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The boys who continue to cry wolf and the 10 August arrests

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The article in the Times about details on the so-called UK terror case that is blocking out UK visitors is quite an interesting read and well worth a read. While on holiday this month I made it a point to avoid the news, email, phone, etc so when someone at a dinner party mentioned the 10 August arrests in London, I immediately dismissed it as yet another over-hyped warning that Bush and Blair have come to use all too often. Only hours before hearing about it, I remember seeing a headline at a newsstand about Labour having some sort of problems and thought that would probably mean something scary had to happen to help pick up the ratings.

After reading the Times article, once again I am fuming. I'm sick and tired of the fear campaigns for political purposes. Who could forget Tom Ridge doing his best to terrify the nation in the summer before the 2004 election with his so-called terror alert that wasn't really much of anything? Let's reflect on all of those over-hyped, let's scare-the-shit-out-of-everyone campaigns to keep everyone in line and drinking the Kool Aid, whether we are talking about lies about reasons for invading Iraq or the more recent insanely silly Miami arrests. As information on the 10 August arrests trickle out, it looks like US leaders have chosen, again, to opt for reckless fear and hysteria for political benefit. Read on and you decide.

Hours after the police arrested the 21 suspects, police and government officials in both countries said they had intended to carry out the deadliest terrorist attack since Sept. 11.

Later that day, Paul Stephenson, deputy chief of the Metropolitan Police in London, said the goal of the people suspected of plotting the attack was mass murder on an unimaginable scale. On the day of the arrests, some officials estimated that as many as 10 planes were to be blown up, possibly over American cities. Michael Chertoff, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, described the suspected plot as getting really quite close to the execution stage.
Hmmm, sounds like some pretty scary stuff.
But British officials said the suspects still had a lot of work to do. Two of the suspects did not have passports, but had applied for expedited approval. One official said the people suspected of leading the plot were still recruiting and radicalizing would-be bombers.
Hmm, sounds like it's not quite as scary as Chertoff suggested.
...British investigators have still not determined whether there was a target date for the attacks or how many planes were to be involved. They say the estimate of 10 planes was speculative and exaggerated.
Despite the charges, officials said they were still unsure of one critical question: whether any of the suspects was technically capable of assembling and detonating liquid explosives while airborne.

A chemist involved in that part of the inquiry, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was sworn to confidentiality, said HMTD, which can be prepared by combining hydrogen peroxide with other chemicals, in theory is dangerous, but whether the suspects ?had the brights to pull it off remains to be seen.?

While officials and experts familiar with the case say the investigation points to a serious and determined group of plotters, they add that questions about the immediacy and difficulty of the suspected bombing plot cast doubt on the accuracy of some of the public statements made at the time.

?In retrospect, said Michael A. Sheehan, the former deputy commissioner of counterterrorism in the New York Police Department, there may have been too much hyperventilating going on.

Over-hyping terror alerts for political purposes is one of the lowest forms of manipulation and only helps to weaken democracy in our countries. I've had it with the Soviet style, one party rule in the US that is all based on fear.

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