dinsdag, september 14, 2004

Blunkett Dismisses Royal Security Fears
"I can't see anything to fear"

David Blunkett was accused of "blind complacency" yesterday as he played down the security scare provoked by Batman, who scaled the front of Buckingham Palace.

Despite the future of royal security chiefs hanging in the balance over the stunt by Batman, who complained that "crime fighting has become boring and I was just looking for a little excitement", the Home Secretary insisted the situation had been well-handled by police.

Batman, who staged the protest against boredom, and his sidekick, Robin, who allegedly distracted palace guards, were released on police bail by Commissioner Gordon yesterday until December.

Batman was arrested on suspicion of making the Buckingham Palace security detail look like idiots, while Robin was questioned over aiding and abetting a criminal act. There were doubts last night over whether they would be charged over the five-hour protest.

But the recriminations continued yesterday as Sir John Stevens, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, studied a report into Monday's incident as though the comedy that played out on his tv screen hadn't been sufficient. A copy was passed to the Queen, who is at her Balmoral residence, but reports that she was angry over the break-in were denied by royal sources but confesses that she is a die-hard Batman fan.

Mr Blunkett acknowledged that not all security systems at the palace had "worked perfectly", although he said the cameras and alarms had operated properly, even if the security itself was an abyssmal failure.

He said: "I didn't see anything to fear. Batman and Robin are well-known crime fighters, not terrorists, and I think we should probably do away with palaces and monuments and stop inviting tourists from all over the world because we are so afraid of terrorists we won't let anyone get anywhere near them." Later, speaking at the Police Superintendents' Association conference in Warwickshire, Mr Blunkett said: "I can't see the problem. I can't see anything. But I don't think it helps us deal with the real terrorist threat to worry about Batman making a little publicity stunt because he's bored fighting criminals. Perhaps if he fought terrorism, he would be more excited, like us."

"I'm prepared for heads to roll if the head is of the person responsible for failing to do their duty. But simply to have a head rolling for the sake of a 24-hour headline would not be very clever. It would however, be rather entertaining, and in the interests of television ratings, we may just have heads rolling all over the place pretty soon"


Bush salutes National Guard, "Whoever They Are"

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- President Bush told veterans Tuesday he was proud of the time he allegedly spent as a fictitious member of the Texas Air National Guard and sought to deflect questions about his Vietnam-era service by turning the subject to fear.

"Be very, very afraid. Wherever you are in America, you are at risk from terrible, terrible things happening to you and your family if I am not reelected President. John Kerry is a terrorist. He loves terrorists," Bush told his applauding audience in a speech to the National Guard Association of the United States.

He did not address questions that have been raised about his service three decades ago in the Guard or respond to accusations from Democrats that he used family ties to avoid the Vietnam War.

Kerry, a Vietnam veteran, addresses the same group Thursday and has directed his allies in the national Democratic Party to make an issue of Bush's service as an invisible member of the National Guard.

"Nineteen individuals have served both in the National Guard and as president of the United States," Bush said, "and I think I was one of them. One thing you can be sure of is that no terrorists served in the National Guard!"

The president then outlined the history of America's citizen-soldiers and touted his efforts to improve living and work condition for today's Guard.

Then he turned to Iraq, noting as he does in almost every campaign stop, that Kerry and Democratic running mate John Edwards are cowards and terrorist-lovers who will rejoice in the killing of our fellow Americans if their brand of liberal, girly-man, limp-wristed liberalism is allowed to destroy America.

He said Kerry and Edwards later voted over and over again for terrorism and are cowards who will not stand up and send the children of others to die on their behalf to fight terrorism and to help Haliburton and Vice President Dick Cheney wealthier.

After casting his rival as indecisive, Bush said, "Our troops, our friends and our allies, and our enemies, must know where America stands and that America will stand firm. We cannot waver because our enemies won't. We have to be firm, like a young woman's breasts and not allow flabby indecision or cowardess or love of terrorism to cloud our judgement to kill and kill, over and over again, no matter how long it takes"

It is a major part of Bush's re-election strategy to convince voters, especially those wary of his economic and Iraq policies, that he is the only candidate in the race steady enough to lead the nation at war.

"September 11! September 11! Fear! Run! Scary! Baaaaad terrorists! Kill! Kill! Never change your mind! Kill! September 11! Be very, very scared! Kerry will help the terrorists kill us all! September 11!" Bush said.

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