Threat of lawsuit spiked UK report on ‘head of state’ funding of al Qaeda
Was it a sharp-eyed editor’s discovery of a false story, or outside forms of influence that caused a major London newspaper to spike its story yesterday about an unnamed “head of state” whose inner circle has been funding al Qaeda?
It turns out that threats of a lawsuit under Britain’s archaic “guilty until proven innocent” libel laws, briefly caused the story to be withdrawn. The Telegraph reports today that a parliamentary committee published information concerning an “Asian head of state” whose family funded al Qaeda and who is so wealthy and influential that his inner circle boasts of controlling major British political figures.
The February 24 article did appear but was quickly pulled down from the website of the Telegraph newspaper, a prominent conservative daily in London, and snuffed from Google News. According to the Telegraph, “On Friday night [February 24] lawyers for the claimant threatened The Daily Telegraph with an injunction, but failed to make any application.”
Congrats are in order for the Telegraph‘s editors, who had to comply with the law but went ahead and published the story anyway.
The point here is that hostile foreign powers can manipulate democracies through their financial means, as well as through using the legal systems – much as we see in the United States with “lawfare,” a form of warfare waged by means of hiring mercenary combatants known as trial attorneys.
Here are some screen shots from February 24 (click on them to enlarge images). The first one is of the “error” message on the Telegraph‘s website that had briefly contained the story Look at the URL and you can see the spiked headline: “Head-of-state-funded-al-Qaeda-and-knew-of-77-terror-attack. . . .”
Like American shorthand for “9/11,” the term “77 terror attack” refers to what the British call “7/7,” – the July 7, 2005 coordinated bombings of London’s public transit system.
The next screen shot is from a Google News search that shows the report did make it briefly on the world’s biggest search engine:
Who was the head of state? Is the information contained in the parliamentary report accurate? Stay tuned. This could be a good case study of how democratic leaders feel the need to remain silent about the enemy threat for commercial or diplomatic purposes.
(Hat tip to Chris H.)