CBS went to England for its lead as police arrested nine suspects in a so-called terrorist plot against a Moslem soldier home on leave from Afghanistan. The alleged scheme was to produce anti-Iraq-War propaganda by kidnapping the soldier, decapitating him, videotaping the killing and posting it online "apparently inspired by the capture and execution of westerners in Iraq" as Mark Phillips put it. Phillips cautioned us to be careful about all these lurid details: "Police have made high profile arrests of Moslems suspected in ambitious terror plots before only to have let the suspects go when the intelligence proved wrong."
ABC's Jim Sciutto added that the allegations have little credibility among young Moslem men in Birmingham, where the arrests were made. CBS' Elizabeth Palmer reported that English police keep a close eye on Moslem mosques, where they have 1,600 citizens under active surveillance in 30 different suspected schemes: "The British government was too tolerant for too long of radical Moslem preachers." The threat of a terrorist attack is greater in England than in the United States, NBC's Keith Miller generalized.
The modifier "so-called" is added here to the label "terrorist" because "terrorism" usually refers to political attacks on civilians rather than military targets. Furthermore, a kidnap-murder scheme would usually be called a "criminal" plot rather than a "terrorist" one. The only thing that elevates this story to the category "terrorism" is the accusation of a plan to use the execution snuff video as online propaganda--that and the journalistic desire to make a headline as eyecatching as possible.
You must be logged in to this website to leave a comment. Please click here to log in so you can participate in the discussion.