Sunday, November 09, 2014

09-Nov-14: Did British police just foil an Islamist assassination attempt on the life of Queen Elizabeth?

The Times of London carries the report at the top of its
front page [Image Source]
A British tabloid newspaper, The Sun, published a report on Friday ["Lockdown after plot to kill the Queen"] about British police arresting four Islamists on charges of planning to kill Queen Elizabeth II of England at the Royal British Legion Festival, a military celebration held at Royal Albert Hall. The four men, aged between 19 and 27, were arrested in raids on Thursday evening, and all four are currently being held in police stations in central London for the moment.

It's a story important enough to be prominently echoed in the pages of newspapers throughout the world.

From the New York Post, November 8, 2014:
Four Islamic terrorists planned to kill the Queen of England this weekend — but British police foiled the assassination plot, reports said. The anarchist assassins intended to stab Queen Elizabeth II Friday as the country celebrated 96 years since the end of World War I — an annual British jubilee — with numerous public appearances by her Royal Highness. British police discovered the murder plot by the four terrorists, ranging in age from 19 to 27, and conducted multiple raids in West London and Buckinghamshire to thwart their plan. Cops believe the suspected terrorists planned to use a knife to kill the beloved 88-year-old Queen, but also think they likely had access to firearms...
From The Australian, November 9, 2014:
Scotland Yard have refused to confirm the target and details of the plot, but said it was part of “an ongoing investigation into Islamist-related terrorism”. The Sun newspaper reported the plot involved an attempt to kill the Queen at the Cenotaph in London where she was to lay a wreath. The Prime minister David Cameron was also due to attend the same commemoration. The paper quoted an unnamed source saying: “in essence there was a plan to assassinate the Queen or other high profile figure at a remembrance ceremony’’.
Also from an Australian news source, the Brisbane Courier-Mail, November 8, 2014:
If ever we needed proof that we are dealing with monsters in the war against terror, the Islamist plot to kill the Queen exposes a fanaticism that the average Australian cannot comprehend. Police have confirmed reports that a suspected plot to kill the Queen at a Royal British Legion event ahead of Remembrance Day at the Royal Albert Hall has been foiled. Police say four Islamic terror suspects are thought to have been planning a knife attack on Her Majesty, 88. It is thought the alleged assassination plot on the Queen emerged during routine surveillance.
And in the UK's Daily Mail, November 8, 2014:
The Queen has vowed to attend the Remembrance Day centenary ceremony at The Cenotaph despite police arresting four Islamist terror suspects plotting to kill her on the day. The 88-year-old monarch insisted she will carry on with tradition - laying the first wreath following the two-minute silence at 11am on November 11. A source told the Sun: 'Whatever the security assessment, Her Majesty would not shirk from her responsibility and duty - and this Remembrance Sunday is no different.' ...Last night police were said to be interrogating the suspects - who are thought to have hatched a plot assassinate the Queen with a knife... Police marksmen from its SO15 terrorism command arrested the youngest suspect on Thursday night at 8.31pm at the £160,000 home he shares with his mother in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. He is said to have recently returned from Pakistan... The home of Yousaf Syed, the 19-year-old suspect, had been raided before – in April during an investigation into potential jihadists... Neighbours of Syed said he lives with his 41-year-old mother Somia, who works as ground crew for an airline. One said he had had ‘several run-ins’ with the ‘angry’ teenager. When he challenged the teenager’s mother, she told him: ‘I’m sorry, it’s my son. He’s young and he’s just discovered his faith.’ The neighbour said the teenager recently grew a full beard and began wearing traditional Muslim dress... Fourteen minutes later a 22-year-old was seized by armed officers at a house in Hounslow... In an unusual move, the eldest suspect was stopped at gunpoint in his car in Southall, West London, but no shots were fired. The fourth man was arrested in Uxbridge and searches were taking place in Greenford and Hayes, also in West London. The suspects were all arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism... The Metropolitan Police said the operation involved its counter-terrorism command, MI5 agents and officers from other constabularies. 
The BBC does not report the foiled plot at all, though it does
report that it was reported elsewhere [Image Source]
So now let's ask what the BBC, about whose absurd guidelines - that largely prevent it from applying the word "terror" to the rising torrent of news involving terror - we have written in the past, say about a foiled attack on the Queen?

Not a word at this hour - except that in its regular survey ["The papers: Saturday's headlines"] of what the British papers are reporting, it does note that The Sun has the assassination story all over its front page, as do the Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph. That's three of the UK's largest circulating newspapers. In the panel discussion about the day's news and newspapers, which you can view via the video link on the page, the coverage in those three papers, while mentioned, is promptly ignored.

So what to make of this? Does it mean there was no plot? Or it was not Islamist? Or it was aimed at someone other than the Queen? Or there were no arrests?

If there's a straightforward explanation for the BBC's coyness on what seems like a thunderingly important news story, we would be glad to know it.

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