Update: Reuters made an error — the number of potential terrorists was supposed to be listed as 2,000 instead of 22,000. See this BBC article.
So the alarming news just dropped by an order of magnitude.
The most recent wire stories from the UK combine the News of the Weird with the News of the Alarming.
Pirates have human rights and may seek asylum. The BBC says it has been soft-pedaling the news on Islam. And the British security services are monitoring 22,000 suspected or would-be terrorists within the country.
I feel like I woke up in Bizarro World this morning.
First the news about those poor oppressed pirates. From the Times Online:
Pirates can claim UK asylum
THE Royal Navy, once the scourge of brigands on the high seas, has been told by the Foreign Office not to detain pirates because doing so may breach their human rights.
Warships patrolling pirate-infested waters, such as those off Somalia, have been warned that there is also a risk that captured pirates could claim asylum in Britain.
The Foreign Office has advised that pirates sent back to Somalia could have their human rights breached because, under Islamic law, they face beheading for murder or having a hand chopped off for theft.
So… first you raid coastal shipping, and maybe bump off a few British sailors.
Then you get detained by Her Majesty’s naval personnel.
But you’re a victim because you come from Somalia. So from now on you’ll get a generous dole, and will presumably be allowed to summon all four wives and your forty-nine children to share your good fortune.
Nice work if you can get it!
BBC chief Mark Thompson warns of ‘over-cautious’ Islam coverage
Mark Thompson, the Director General of the BBC, tonight warned broadcasters against becoming overly-cautious in their reporting on Islam for fear of causing offence to Muslims.
Speaking at Westminster Cathedral Mr Thompson, a practising Catholic, said there was “a growing nervousness about discussion about Islam and its relationship to the traditions and values of British and Western society as a whole”.
No! I can’t believe the BBC would ever hold back from covering the whole story on Islam. We all know what hard-hitting, pull-no-punches chaps those BBC writers and reporters have been.
Finally, a more sober report from Reuters:
Smith says monitoring 30 U.K. terrorism plots
British police and security agencies are currently monitoring 30 terrorism plots, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said in extracts of a newspaper interview released on Saturday.
“We now face a threat level that is severe. It’s not getting any less, it’s actually growing,” she said in an interview to be published in Sunday’s News of the World.
“We task the police and the security agencies with protecting us … There are 22,000 individuals they are monitoring. There are 200 networks. There are 30 active plots,” she said.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Labour government is seeking to extend pre-charge detention of terrorism suspects to 42 days from the current 28-day limit.
But Smith faces a tough task steering the controversial provisions through parliament.
The Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties have both said they will vote against extended detention. Labour backbenchers are also threatening to rebel and vote down the clause in the Counter-Terrorism Bill.
So let me see if I have this straight:
First the pirates get detained off the coast of Somalia and are sent to be locked up in London.
After four weeks they get released.
Then they apply for asylum, and use the government dole money to help finance their local Al Qaeda franchise.
But there’s a bright side to all this: those are Muslim pirates, so this time, at least, the BBC won’t back down from reporting the story.
All hat tips: TB.