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British newspapers report diffent versions of the terror alert story

A comparative review of British press this morning reveals much about standards of journalism in the mass media. The newspapers have not yet got their story straight, and instead blatantly report different versions of the same facts and figures. Even the front pages of today's newspapers disagree, to such an extent that any intelligent person who cares to glance at more than one of them in their local shop today will rightly question the very credibility of the daily news that we are fed each day. A random sample will be sufficient to demonstrate the point.

The headline on the front page of The Times is a typical: "Five planes and the plot to commit Britain's 9/11". Inside The Times, we learn that police have thwarted a "plot to detonate suicide bombs on five US-bound aircraft". A hi-tech picture of a sophisticated bomb helps you to visualise the device in vivid detail, and the title "invisible bomb" was not intended to be ironic.

The Guardian claims that twice as many aircraft were involved, declaring on its front page "up to 12 aircraft to be blown up" and "Five US cities targeted".

The number of planes changes again in The Sun "news" paper, which reports: "A TERROR plot to blow up nine jets using explosives in drinks bottles was smashed yesterday." A big line of text at the top of the front page proclaims "Plot to blow up 9 jets foiled", amid the usual pictures of half-naked women and celebrities.

In the Daily Telegraph we learn that only "as many as 10 transatlantic jets" were targets. The attack "could have been executed within 48 hours", evoking memories of Tony Blair's infamous speech about Saddam Hussein's ability to attack British targets with Iraqi WMD at short notice, a blatant pack of lies.

On its front page the Daily Mirror informs us that "police foiled a plot to blow up NINE planes" but "over EIGHT cities" rather than only five. The numbers are confidently emphasised as bold red capital letters which are coloured bright red for maximum impact. On the top-right corner of the page "10/8 the liquid bombs plot" appears in yellow text. Inside we learn about "A HORRIFYING wave of suicide bomb attacks on nine packed holiday jets that would have killed tens of thousands was foiled yesterday - with just 48 hours to spare." But this version of the story would make 12/10 the date of the attacks.

In London, the front of the Evening Standard claims "Next Wednesday was bombing day" in big bold capital letters at the top of the page, with a dramatic red rubber-stamp-style date "16/8" filling the entire lower-right quarter of the page. Beneath the main headline, the sub heading claims "Tickets were booked on United Airlines flights", a known falsehood.

The Daily Star "news" paper carries a front page with the headline "50 terrorists, 10 airliners" beneath an unrelated soft-porn banner showing a seductive girl, naked despite her thong. An inside page main headline records a key fact about the terrorists: "Every one a Brit Muslim".

The front page of The Independent is dominated by a huge red date "10/8" beneath which a disturbing question is posed "Was this going to be the next date on the calendar of terror?" The answer is no, if you read a different newspaper. Because whatever "the calendar of terror" is supposed to mean, the other newspapers are apparently not using it. This newspaper already seems to have decided that the arrested suspects were part of a "British-based al-Qaeda cell".

The "TEN jets" and "48 hours" version of the story is maintained by the front page of the "Daily Express" (whose web site is seemingly connected to the Daily Star's in some way judging by the similarities in structure and content).

The Financial Times describes "A terrorist plot to blow up as many as six US-bound aircraft", and this is the first sentence of the first paragraph of text. As usual, there is no indication that the facts and figures reported here as "news" might be at best pure guesswork, at worse the hollow deliberate deceptions of state propaganda.

As always, it is clear that truth and accuracy are less important than a sensational story, especially when the headlines service the needs of state propaganda.


The Times, "A plan 'to commit unimaginable mass murder'", front page, 11 August 2006.

The Guardian, "'A plot to commit murder on an unimaginable scale'", front page, 11 August 2006.

The Sun, "Jet bottle bombers foiled", 11 August 2006.

Daily Telegraph, "Middle-class and British: the Muslims in plots to bomb jets", front page, 11 August 2006.

Daily Mirror, "The liquid bombs plot", front page, 11 August 2006.

Evening Standard, "Foiled attack: Next Wednesday was bombing day", front page, 11 August 2006.

Financial Times, "Air bomb plot foiled, say police", front page, 11 August 2006.

The Independent, "A terror plot, 24 arrests and the day when chaos reigned", 11 August 2006.


The Guardian, "Terror plot: Pakistan and al-Qaida links revealed", page 1, 12 August 2006.
    But it is not clear when the attack was to take place. None of the alleged plotters had yet bought airline tickets, according to anti-terrorist sources.
    [Note that this extract, paragraph 13 of 15 on page 1 of The Guardian, exposes as false the entire front page of the Evening Standard the previous day on which the second largest headline was "Tickets were booked on United Airlines flights" under the main headline "Next wednesday was bombing day" and alongside a giant red date "16/8". If you were a judge or a member of the jury in the trial of these suspects, which version of events are you more likely to have seen reported, and if both, which would you be more likely to rememer? Both sources are major, respected British newspapers, the latter being the main newspaper for London.]

"The Insider" mailing list article, 11 August 2006.

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Tags: British, newspapers, terror, alert, terrorist, news, mass media, propaganda, , conspiracy theories.

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