[News] Doubts Hang Over Terror Plot
news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Aug 14 11:30:31 EDT 2006
August 14, 2006
Doubts Hang Over Terror Plot
By CHRISTOPHER REED
Just weeks ago a task force of British police, some armed and others
in chemical protection uniforms, raided an East London working home
and arrested two brothers -- shooting one. It was part of an alleged
"terrorist plot" to use the deadly substance ricin on an unsuspecting
citizenry. It was also a fiasco, with no terrorist plot, no ricin,
and no crime, except the shooting of an innocent man.
Yet now the public is asked to give grateful thanks to these same law
enforcement officers who have, in the words of politicians and
officials from both sides of the Atlantic, foiled another "terrorist
plot". This one, based mainly in the similar London suburb of
Walthamstow, would have caused "mass murder on an unimaginable scale"
in "Britain's 9-11" at a time of "the most severe threat since the
end of the second world war." Worse than Hitler!
We await the release of more facts about the 21 (or 23, or 24) young
men and one (or two) young women who intended to blow up in mid-air
nine (or 10 or 12) transatlantic airplanes "soon" or in the "next few
days" or just "imminently". The two-score young Muslim Brits
allegedly were preparing liquid explosives disguised as soft drinks,
but actually nitroglycerin (or nitormethane, or triacetone
triperoxide). However, one of these was so unstable it was likely to
fail (as it did in another plot) or smelled so pungent a patrol dog
would sniff it at half a mile, or was "almost impossible" to mix on
Then we were told the British police had been tracking this plot for
a "year" or "several months" but decided to pounce on the alleged
perps last Wednesday because of "information" from a "source" in
Pakistan. Why then? A good question, especially as we were also told
none of the intended terrorist travellers had yet purchased an
airline ticket. Odd...for at this time of year in Britain
transatlantic tickets are not immediately available -- unless these
were going to be First Class terrorists, perhaps comparing their
last-minute arrangements over drinks in the VIP lounge?
But we must not be flippant about what president Bush called the
"Islamic fascist" threat, which included, according to the Sunday
Times of London, the Al-Quaida terrorist group leader in Britain, who
was (allegedly) among those arrested. There have of course since 9-11
been terrorist attacks in several countries that killed hundreds of
people of a dozen or more nationalities.
Yet it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the authorities,
from police to secret service agencies, the military, civilian
security forces, and politicians including national leaders and those
of cabinet rank, behave in these times in such a way as to erode any
confidence or trust not only in their efficiency, but their good
faith. It is almost as if they were encouraging the conspiracy theorists.
Indeed, the Arab press immediately expressed suspicions of official
motives and explanations. Their media are poorly reported in Britain
and America, so here is a summary offered by an Arab journalist
colleague from the Al Quds al Arabi newspaper in London (from the Arabic):
(The latest terror plot) "is mostly intentionally exaggerated news.
The aim is to serve the political goals of the Blair-Bush duo in
their war against what they call 'Islamic terror'.
"UK government spokespeople claimed in the past that they unveiled
terror cells and Blair has been using the policy of frightening his
people every time he is faced with a political campaign against his
policies of supporting the genocide of Arab and Muslim people. He and
his accomplice Bush, desperately want to shift world attention from
their fascist policies of conducting daily massacre against Arab and
Muslim people in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon.
"If it was a real terror plot as claimed by UK police, then Blair is
responsible for putting his people in the danger zone because he runs
with his accomplice Bush a fascist terror war against the children of
Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon, thus creating the best environment for
"If the UK police have been following up this plot for months, as was
announced, why did they wait for such a long time to announce it --
until just when the majority of British public opinion was standing
against Blair-Bush support of the Israeli aggression against Lebanon?
We doubt the UK police claims because we know very well that faking
such plots is a very easy practice by the USA and UK governments, who
also faked the plot that Iraqi had arms of mass destruction.
"If these claims prove correct, we denounce those involved, who
should be punished severely. But the real responsibility is on
Bush-Blair, the axis of fascism and evil, who are targeting Arab and
Islamic countries in their new crusade ... "
Nothing here claimed as fact is inaccurate. The opinions are a
curious reversal of what Bush and Blair say about Muslim extremists
(note the "evil axis"), but turned upon them. The allegation of
fakery is posed -- not stated as fact -- but such a notion, held by
many, earns little or no space in British-US media. Not even if you
replace the word "fakery" with, for instance, "gross exaggeration."
So this media presentation is no worse than what is offered by the
English-language mainstream press; it could be argued that at least
it also presents an alternative view.
Actually the "Blair-Bush duo" has been on vacation during the alleged
plot disclosure. Blair's stand-in, the minister for home affairs,
John Reid, spoke in London in a manner that the Arab newspaper would
find familiar. He said police had caught the "main players" in the
plot, without using the word "alleged" and thus possibly jeopardizing
any trial by "prejudging" the evidence in Britain's far stricter
rules of criminal justice proceedings. He also dismissed with
contempt the charge that Britain's recent foreign incursions into
Muslim nations had exacerbated extremist hatred of its policies.
More suspiciously, he suddenly changed his mid-week schedule to
deliver an extraordinary speech, on Wednesday itself. Instead of an
address about immigration and the justice system, he switched to
"protecting the public" from "fascists with unconstrained capability"
because of their "access to modern chemical, biological, and other
means of mass destruction." He could have been talking about the new
case -- but the arrests did not happen for another 12 hours. No
official explanation was offered for the changed speech but
"something changed" a ministry spokesman admitted, without saying what.
Reid is responsible for the police forces of Britain, and under his
jurisdiction were the disgraceful events of two months ago in the
neighborhood of Forest Gate, East London. The two brothers arrested
were later released and no charges were brought. The police who shot
and wounded one have been exonerated. Also exonerated is the police
officer who shot and killed an innocent Brazilian immigrant aged 27
on a subway train after an earlier "terrorist" raid in London last
year. The man's parents are being forced to seek justice over their
son's death through a private legal action. Meanwhile, the police
officer in charge of the death raid has put in for her promotion,
which is under "consideration."
The record gets worse. It is an established and much criticized fact
in the US and elsewhere that the most suspicious kind of tips on
alleged crimes come from a committed "informant" who clearly has
reason to gain from the information. In the Forest Gate case the tip
was from an informant, as it was in Wednesday's arrests. Overall, the
Guardian of London reported recently, of the 701 people arrested
under Britain's Terrorism Act since the September 11 2001 attacks,
half have been released without charge and only 17 convicted. Only
three of those cases relate to allegations of Islamist extremism. The
US conviction record over 9-11 is even worse.
Add to this a lawyers' consensus that conspiracy charges are the
hardest to prove and the riskiest to bring, with their strong
potential for misuse. The reason is simple: Conspiring means mostly
talking ("planning" police would call it) and that can mean something
serious and intentional, or speculative and without possible
completion. Yet in London's new case, conspiracy is likely to be the
main grounds for any prosecution (although already one person has
Not only the Arab papers but anyone with a cynical eye on politics in
London and Washington cannot fail to notice how convenient was the
timing of this raid. The bloody fiasco of Israeli aggression in
Lebanon was removed from the headlines just as they became the worst.
And, as Al Quds noted, mounting British protest and parliamentary
threats of an official inquiry, were swept away for the rest of the week.
Britain's Tony Blair has also, like George W. Bush, already exploited
fear of terrorism to pass repressive new legislation severely
threatening or curtailing traditional personal and civic freedoms. He
is currently seeking to extend to 90 days the period -- already
lengthened once to 28 days -- during which terrorist suspects can be
detained. Blair was prevented from doing that by his parliament, but
now perhaps the mood might change...
A few Muslim journalists in London have been permittted to voice some
concern over Britain's racial politics. One in the Sunday Times,
Navid Akhtar, who investigated young Muslims' attitudes for a British
television channel. He countered Reid's claim that terrorist attacks
prior to 9-11 invalidated the charge of British foreign policy as an
aggravation of Islamic anger.
He pointed out that most of those arrested seemed to be "fully
integrated" into British society. Two were even converts. Most were
also in their young to mid-twenties, so that "they have been caught
up in the war on terror for much of their adult lives. They have seen
their fellow Muslims being killed in wars conducted by their own
government and they feel responsible....and live in a dual reality."
As a consequence, "a number of disillusioned youngsters feel more
attached to the global community via the internet than they do to
their immediate community on the ground."
This makes immediate nonsense of Reid's argument about
British-American foreign policy. Yet the divisions of society come
not from just that. They are spurred by the repellent enthusiasm with
which the forces of "homeland security" pursue their dubious trade --
appearing almost to rejoice in the mayhem they believe is leveled against them.
Policemen in Britain usually avoid rhetoric and go to lengths to be
dull even about the most spectacular crimes. They "detain" someone
who "may help us in our inquiries" as they say about an arrest in a
horrific ax murder. Their bold claims and extravagant talk in this
case are grounds alone upon which to be deeply suspicious of the
official version and the motives of those promoting it.
Christopher Reed usually reports from Japan but is in England on a
visit. He can be contacted at
<mailto:christopherreed at earthlink.net>christopherreed at earthlink.net
The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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