The Dissenter's Voice

The ocassional comments, opinions, rambling and rants of a liberal dissenter in New Labour's Britain

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Why I'm not yet convinced....

It's a liberal's job to be sceptical, so I guess you can't blame me for being increasingly concerned about just how justified the latest Terror Alert has actually been. I'm not a crazed conspriacy theorist, almost always it is a combination of incompetence & opportunism that is the answer when things don't seem to add up, rather than conspriacy. That I suspect is what's going on here as well.

We've been told that the 24 arrests averted an horiffic 9/11 style attack, that following the arrest of fugitive terrorist mastermind in Pakistan information was 'discovered' that made it imperative to arrest the suspected bombers straight-away before they could put there plan into action.

However, it's now emerging that none of the 24 arrested had actually bought an airline ticket, indeed a number now appear not to even have valid passports. They literally could not have got on board a flight, let alone blow one up. Virtually all of them have been under long-term surveillance by the Security Services. Surely this means that they did not have the capacity to launch an 'emergency' attack, and that any attempt to do so would have been easily spotted & stopped?

I don't doubt that most of those arrested have extreme views, and that many of them will probably have been taped making wild threats, or indeed to be actively involved with extremist jihadist organisations but given the Police's recent record I'm not so convinced that there was much hard evidence of an actual terrorist conspiracy. Lets remember that as Craig Murray has pointed out only 12% of the 1000+ British Muslims arrested under new terrorism legislation have ever actually been charged and that of those 80% have been acquited once they got to trial.

Remember the 'Dodgy Dossier'? What that showed us was that inteligence isn't black & white, there are a lot of judgement calls, and balanced evidence that needs to be assesed calmly. What I suspect has happened is that some weak evidence against a group of home grown extremists has been used to justify action which is very politically convenient for both Tony Blair & George Bush.

The evidence remember comes from the government of Pakistani Dictator General Musharraff, which is anxious to stay in the West's good books despite its continued links with elements of the Taliban in Afghanistan. In particular the details of the alleged plot came from the confession of Rashid Rauf, a Birmingham born man on the run for the murder of his uncle in the UK. Tayib was arrested by the Pakistani Secret Service, the ISI (yes that's the same ISI that continues to train the Taliban), who routinely use torture to get information from suspects. As we know, torture is a very reliable way of getting information - it's not however a very reliable way of getting the truth as those tortured will say anything to make it stop.

The whole thing looks a mess, I don't think anyone sat down to plan out a conspiracy, but I do suspect that political expediency has led to pressure for 'action' whether the evidence justified it or not.

I could well be wrong, and this might have been an amazingly piece of intelligence work from the guys who rbrought us iraqi WMDs & the Forest Gate bomb factory but it will be very interesting to see how many of the current crop of suspects are actually charged, how many go to trial and how many are actually found guilty in the end.


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