EDINBURGH--In the first few days of an event like the one we've just lived through, it's understandable that media emphasis should be on what government spokespeople are telling us. But by this point, it's equally reasonable to expect--since we're talking about a supposed event that exactly no one has witnessed with his/her own eyes--that the media start seeking out responsible voices for skepticism. Craig Murray qualifies, I would think. The former British ambassador to the lovely land of Uzbekistan, he left the government and, as the Brits say, savaged its policies regarding, among other things, tolerating torture by countries like Uzbekistan. Now (hat tip: Andrew Sullivan), in a post in which he expresses deep doubts about the reality of the alleged plot, he says this:
In all of this, the one thing of which I am certain is that the timing is deeply political. This is more propaganda than plot. Of the over one thousand British Muslims arrested under anti-terrorist legislation, only twelve per cent are ever charged with anything. That is simply harrassment of Muslims on an appalling scale. Of those charged, 80% are acquitted. Most of the very few - just over two per cent of arrests - who are convicted, are not convicted of anything to do terrorism, but of some minor offence the Police happened upon while trawling through the wreck of the lives they had shattered.
Be sceptical. Be very, very sceptical.
It's useful to remember the audience to which Tony Blair is playing. Having just spent two weeks in London, I can tell you that virtually every taxi driver I talked to (and there were quite a few) is upset over the increasing visual Muslimization of the Capital--viz., the predominance on many streets of groups of women walking the sidewalk in full-bore burkas, only eyes visible. People I know quite well are very upset about the continued existence of mosques whose imams are frequently reported to be making pronouncements about the desirability of jihad. This is the ground into which news of the alleged terror plot was planted.
Obviously, at this point, none of us--nobody reading or writing to this site--has a real basis for knowing whether any of this is true or not. Nor do most of the people speaking and writing at us in the media. Responsible skepticism--not imagining conspiracies, but a demand that governments, even governments with a history of severely spinning the truth, be held to a standard of veracity--is a voice that needs to be heard right about now.