Someone in the Northcliffe House bunker has a short memory: while the obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre – and that includes the Mail On Sunday (MoS), as the Vagina Monologue is editor-in-chief – loves to kick the blessed Tone, they manage to forget that he and Dubya Bush went off to war in Iraq on the basis of some highly dodgy intelligence.
That would be intelligence coming from a single source: in Iraq it was the Iraqi National Congress and convicted fraudster Ahmed Chalabi; right now the MoS is making the same mistake just so it can tempt a few more pundits to buy. “GOT HIM ... Jihadi John ‘Wounded In Air Strike’” proclaims the headline, adding “EXCLUSIVE: Foreign Office confirms to MoS ‘We are aware of reports of injury’”.
The impression is immediate: like the Iraq intelligence that was exactly what Tone and Dubya wanted to hear – that there were indeed lots of those mythical Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) – this news is exactly what papers like the MoS want to serve up to their readers. And those quotes around “Wounded In Air Strike” should put readers on their guard. They mean the MoS can’t stand up the claim.
Moreover, look at the quote from the FO: “We are aware of reports of injury”. That also does not stand up the MoS story – all it says is that the FO has heard the same story, and, whisper it quietly, it is entirely possible that they heard it from the MoS, which then framed the story to suggest the source of the FO’s information was someone else. They are just guessing.
But, having ensured the FO is “aware of reports of injury”, it can now tell the readers “Jihadi John, the Briton who beheaded two British and two American hostages held by Islamic State terrorists, has been injured in a US-led air strike, according to reports received by the Foreign Office”. Single-source report becomes the peg on which an alleged “exclusive” can now be hung.
There’s more: “The masked ‘executioner’ with a London accent is believed to have narrowly escaped death when he attended a summit of the group’s leaders in an Iraqi town close to the Syrian border last Saturday”. Woah! More of those quotation marks! Yes, they don’t even know if it was him carrying out the beheadings. And on top of that, they don’t know his name.
You think I jest? Here’s the relevant part of the MoS story: “According to our source, a nurse who treated the wounded in a hospital in Deir-ez-Zour, confirmed that one of the names on the injured list was Jalman, saying it was ‘the one who slaughtered the journalists’”. ISIS, or whatever they’re calling themselves this week, have murdered rather a lot of people recently. That may include other journalists.
This story appears little more than a crock of crap. So no change there, then.