The Sunday Times splashed out on an artist illustrated article in their ongoing "Climate of Fear" hype campaign.
This time, we are meant to believe that:
"Al-Qaeda threat to Trafalgar fleet Sunday Times, April 24, 2005 Michael Smith
SECURITY chiefs fear Al-Qaeda terrorists trained as scuba divers could mount attacks against a royal review of the fleet being held to mark the 200th anniversary of the battle of Trafalgar.
A senior Ministry of Defence (MoD) police officer has disclosed that militants using techniques learnt in western diving schools to attack Royal Navy ships are considered the main threat to the event."
"Officials fear Al-Qaeda divers could attach bombs to the hulls of the ships, detonate explosives strapped to their bodies in suicide attacks or even board vessels and kill some of those on board."
What explosives ? There has been no evidence that Al-Quaeda has access to explosives or even firearms in the United Kingdom.
Neither half a bag of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, nor a shoe bomb which needed to be ignited by lighting matches, poses any threat whatsover in an underwater marine environment.
"Although any underwater diver could be picked up on the navy ships’ sonar systems, they are not sophisticated enough to distinguish between a man and an ocean-going mammal such as a seal or a dolphin."Can't we borrow some minehunting or diver attack trained dolphins from the US Navy ?
Even if they were picked up, the use of a swarming technique would hamper the authorities’ efforts to prevent an attack. "The point of a swarm attack is that you might stop some of them but some of them will get through," said Jones.
The suggestion that Al-Qaeda might attempt swarm attacks using men trained in diving skills is not new. For the past three years, the FBI has been investigating reports of Middle Eastern suspects approaching scuba diving clubs in America and inquiring about training.
The bureau’s investigation was widened after the Dutch security service, the AIVD, discovered suspected Islamist extremists had been trained at a diving school in the Netherlands.
Several of the 48 Arabs trained to dive at the Eindhoven club were among a dozen alleged militants later charged with trying to recruit Dutch Muslims to join Al-Qaeda. Although all those charged were freed when the case collapsed, the AIVD insists the file remains open."
Presumably everyone who has ever taken scuba diving lessons or holidays in the Red Sea, is now considered to be a terrorist suspect.
Is this article really the result of behind the scenes lobbying ?
Is there some sort of budgetary or empire building agenda being played out within the Ministry of Defence ? Are the Royal Marines or the Special Boat Service under budgetary threat ? Will SBS divers not be able to provide protection for Her Majesty during the Trafalagar Day Naval Review ?
Are defence contrators like Qinetiq lobbying for sales of their
Cerberus 360 swimmer detection sonar or their OptaMarine fibre optic passive seabed sonar array ?
which, are designed specifically to be of use in detecting underwater saboteurs ?