The UK Terror plot: what’s really going on? 91


I have been reading very carefully through all the Sunday newspapers to try and analyse the truth from all the scores of pages claiming to detail the so-called bomb plot. Unlike the great herd of so-called security experts doing the media analysis, I have the advantage of having had the very highest security clearances myself, having done a huge amount of professional intelligence analysis, and having been inside the spin machine.

So this, I believe, is the true story.

None of the alleged terrorists had made a bomb. None had bought a plane ticket. Many did not even have passports, which given the efficiency of the UK Passport Agency would mean they couldn’t be a plane bomber for quite some time.

In the absence of bombs and airline tickets, and in many cases passports, it could be pretty difficult to convince a jury beyond reasonable doubt that individuals intended to go through with suicide bombings, whatever rash stuff they may have bragged in internet chat rooms.

What is more, many of those arrested had been under surveillance for over a year – like thousands of other British Muslims. And not just Muslims. Like me. Nothing from that surveillance had indicated the need for early arrests.

Then an interrogation in Pakistan revealed the details of this amazing plot to blow up multiple planes – which, rather extraordinarily, had not turned up in a year of surveillance. Of course, the interrogators of the Pakistani dictator have their ways of making people sing like canaries. As I witnessed in Uzbekistan, you can get the most extraordinary information this way. Trouble is it always tends to give the interrogators all they might want, and more, in a desperate effort to stop or avert torture. What it doesn’t give is the truth.

The gentleman being “interrogated” had fled the UK after being wanted for questioning over the murder of his uncle some years ago. That might be felt to cast some doubt on his reliability. It might also be felt that factors other than political ones might be at play within these relationships. Much is also being made of large transfers of money outside the formal economy. Not in fact too unusual in the British Muslim community, but if this activity is criminal, there are many possibilities that have nothing to do with terrorism.

We then have the extraordinary question of Bush and Blair discussing the possible arrests over the weekend. Why? I think the answer to that is plain. Both in desperate domestic political trouble, they longed for “Another 9/11”. The intelligence from Pakistan, however dodgy, gave them a new 9/11 they could sell to the media. The media has bought, wholesale, all the rubbish they have been shovelled.

We then have the appalling political propaganda of John Reid, Home Secretary, making a speech warning us all of the dreadful evil threatening us and complaining that “Some people don’t get” the need to abandon all our traditional liberties. He then went on, according to his own propaganda machine, to stay up all night and minutely direct the arrests. There could be no clearer evidence that our Police are now just a political tool. Like all the best nasty regimes, the knock on the door came in the middle of the night, at 2.30am. Those arrested included a mother with a six week old baby.

For those who don’t know, it is worth introducing Reid. A hardened Stalinist with a long term reputation for personal violence, at Stirling Univeristy he was the Communist Party’s “Enforcer”, (in days when the Communist Party ran Stirling University Students’ Union, which it should not be forgotten was a business with a very substantial cash turnover). Reid was sent to beat up those who deviated from the Party line.

We will now never know if any of those arrested would have gone on to make a bomb or buy a plane ticket. Most of them do not fit the “Loner” profile you would expect – a tiny percentage of suicide bombers have happy marriages and young children. As they were all under surveillance, and certainly would have been on airport watch lists, there could have been little danger in letting them proceed closer to maturity – that is certainly what we would have done with the IRA.

In all of this, the one thing of which I am certain is that the timing is deeply political. This is more propaganda than plot. Of the over one thousand British Muslims arrested under anti-terrorist legislation, only twelve per cent are ever charged with anything. That is simply harrassment of Muslims on an appalling scale. Of those charged, 80% are acquitted. Most of the very few – just over two per cent of arrests – who are convicted, are not convicted of anything to do terrorism, but of some minor offence the Police happened upon while trawling through the wreck of the lives they had shattered.

Be sceptical. Be very, very sceptical.


91 thoughts on “The UK Terror plot: what’s really going on?

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  • kris

    Oh Dear,

    You see this sort of delusional crap in the states- but I am amazed that someone who made it past bin-man in the civil service is now spouting it off.

    Your analysis is based upon the false premise that Geroge W, or Dr John or whomever is weaving some world-wide islamo-terror plot to keep us scared for their own evil agenda- god knows what- perhaps the military industrial complex- wotever.

    The trouble with your analysis is that the islamo-terrorists have form. I get the feeling you'd like to just forget about, the WTC, Pentagon, London (Kings' X, Edgeware, aldgate, Russle Square), Madrid, Bali…..

    What will it take for the prawn sandwich and latte brigade to pull their heads out and wake up to the fact that this post-modernity exploding jihadi phenonomen is my generation's WWIII?

    To paraphrase the fictional Col Nathan R Jessop: I hope you're proud of yourself- you've put an entire nation at risk with this baloney.

  • kris

    Oh Dear,

    You see this sort of delusional crap in the states- but I am amazed that someone who made it past bin-man in the civil service is now spouting it off.

    Your analysis is based upon the false premise that Geroge W, or Dr John or whomever is weaving some world-wide islamo-terror plot to keep us scared for their own evil agenda- god knows what-perhaps the military industrial complex- wotever.

    The trouble with your analysis is that the islamo-terrorists have form. I get the feeling you'd like to just forget about, the WTC, Pentagon, London (Kings' X, Edgeware, Aldgate, Russell Square), Madrid, Bali…..

    What will it take for the prawn sandwich and latte brigade to pull their heads out and wake up to the fact that this post-modernity exploding jihadi phenonomen is my generation's WWIII?

    To paraphrase the fictional Col Nathan R Jessop: I hope you're proud of yourself- guys like you put an entire nation at risk with this baloney.
    http://kris-stoke-newington.blogspot.com

  • Craig

    Kris,

    Don't be foolish.

    World War 1 deaths 16 million

    World War 2 deaths 62 million

    "War on Terror" deaths 150,000

    Of whome some 10,000 have been killed by Islamic terrorism or guerilla action worldwide since 2,000, and the rest by the US and allies (including Israel).

    These are ballpark figures, but the scale is obviously completely different. A third world war – you have no idea what you are talking about.

    If you actually believe what you say, I sincerely hope you are on the way to sign up at your nearest army recruitment centre.

    Craig

  • Nortcliff

    "Your expose' or whatever you fancy it to be is the deranged mutterings of a conspiracy theorist. Grow up."

    Whereas your closed-minded, authoritarian dismissal (in the tone of a public school housemaster berating Forbes Minor) is the wittering of an establishment stooge.

  • Nortcliff

    "To paraphrase the fictional Col Nathan R Jessop: I hope you're proud of yourself- you've put an entire nation at risk with this baloney."

    Wasn't this fictional Colonel Jessop convicted of being complicit in a fictional murder?

    Why are you quoting fictional murderers Kris?

  • bob cat

    August 17th 2006

    YES – i'm convinced there's a plot here in the U.K?

    tony blair said he wanted this country to become internet aware, to move into the future,

    so, he started messing with the media, until you couldn't rely on it to inform any more.

    he plotted, successfully as it happens, to drive us onto the Internet to find out for ourselves. Sure enough, there's a wealth of information, opinion and dialogue here – freedom of speech, even.

    Long Live the World Wild Web!

    he even took a long holiday, at a crucial time in world politics and despite an attempt by his parliament to recall, he stayed away.

    he needed to let us discover the internet and all that is going on in the world. He was giving us the space to find out for ourselves.

    thank you, mr blair, for your wonderful efforts to promote freedom, democracy and the opportunity for free speech.

    Thank you also, Craig Murray, for your nice bit of writing, it has given me pause for thought

    please also, mr blair, make as sure as you can, that the internet is never censored and is always free for the use of us all. i bet you try and do that too…

  • kid tung

    Great article. How the press immediately followed the official line and then started adding to it by publishing pages after pages about the new profile of terrorists (mothers with young kids, students, young & old … well, pretty much everyone is now a potential terrorist if we follow this line of reasoning), their new methods (after knives and shoes now come the shampoo bottles) is nothing short of intellectual terrorism. What we should realize is that whether this plot turns out to be real or not is a question that is quickly fading into the background (in all the press reports that I've read I'm still waiting to see a shred of hard evidence). Instilling fear, suspicion and security paranoia into the mind of ordinary people is an objective already amply achieved. Soon the majority of the population will be happy to surrender its last remaining liberties, hand over permanent political control to a bunch of megalomaniac thugs and feel very satisfied with it. After all most of us have for good reasons a short memory. Who remembers all those past police raids following "mysterious" intelligence information about terrorist cells and plots that turned out in the end to be … bogus! But at the end of the day what is not bogus is the shredding of hard-won liberties and social security that actually make life in society possible. Centuries of social struggle cancelled by a few real bombs and countless imaginary ones. Welcome (back) to the state of nature, ape-man.

  • rogilman

    Within hours after the arrests, it was apparent from what British and U.S. official and unofficial sources were saying that at least States-side, the stringent onboard carryon rules were politically-motivated and had nothing to do with needed security. By all accounts there was and remains simply no known threat in the U.S. But the Americans, even Bush-hating liberals, are worldly-ignorant and gullible, so the Administration figured its advantage.

    It was also apparent within a day that the Bush Administration had put great pressure on Britain to make arrests and get the matter public. No doubt the timing of the Connecticut primary, as well as the upcoming November elections, was the driving force. It also looked like what forced the arrests was the U.S., after some unsuccessful attempts at persuasion, going around Brits to the Pakistani government and getting that fellow picked up. The British could only insist it be done on the up and up, so as not to completely blow their operation back home.

    That left the British government's actions to explain. If, based on early reports, all, or virtually all, of the known leaders had been picked up; the suspects hadn't built anything or even figured out an explosive mix that would work operationally; and they hadn't cased the airport yet, then it all raised a question about the actual need for the airport measures in Britain. The lack of passports for some is not necessarily damning, since that doesn't preclude a multiple-wave scenario, but added to the other information, didn't look supportive of a terrorist claim.

    And then there was that guy in Pakistan. That's where Craig Murray's information here about the fellow's background really adds something. A guy on the lamb for a family-based crime running an international political-terrorist bombing operation? Yeah, right! You'd have to be completely insane to touch that guy on anything more than a personal level. Unless,…the guy had been turned by the Pakistanis or British or someone and was really setting up a sting, which it so far doesn't sound like. Since the Pakastani police's reputation is well-established, and tens of thousands of travellers and money transfers go between Britain and Pakistan annually, it leaves the ringleader-in Pakistan story looking pretty shaky, to say the least.

    Craig, your harping on John Reid rings of some combination of personal vendetta and plain anti-communism. A passing phrase in the preceding paragraph about his past as a Stalinist thug would have sufficed, but even that would have appeared gratuitous; i.e., what relevance to the terrorist story does the fact that Reid was a Stalinist and one of their thugs have? Taking a paragraph detour to expose Reid's past and going on about it in the comments has the smell of something deeper and rather ugly. But then, you threw your lot in with Her Majesty's government, so a bit of posturing to protect your flank against red baiting, given the very explosive nature of the topic, is understandable.

  • PAYO

    Hello all. From the perspective as the citizen of a Commonwealth country that has been similarly targetted by 'terrorists':
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/toronto-bomb-pl… it is fairly clear what is going on in the media of President Bush, his poodle and his newly acquired Canadian gerbil. I found this post instuctive:

    "How silly. As a former high ranking civil servant in a former commonwealth country I can assure you that you never had "very highest security clearances" as the ambassador of a tinpot proto-republic. Your expose' or whatever you fancy it to be is the deranged mutterings of a conspiracy theorist. Grow up"

    I'm going to assume for the moment that the second sentence, which of the three is unique in that it contains (at least an alleged) fact, is true. I do this because my knowledge of of all matters surrounding security clearances, even in my own country, is nil.

    It is completely irrelevant and distracts from the point of the discussion on which it has no bearing. This tactic seems the stock-in-trade of the propaganda corps on both sides of the pond these days.

    I love the term "conspiracy theorists", designed as it is to immediately win the debate for anyone able to pronounce it. Conspiracies occur throughout the world, from a couple of schoolboys plotting to ambush their classmates with snowballs, to Enron's fixing of California's energy prices, to members of my country's Benny Hill version of MI-5 (CSIS) convincing a group of teenaged paintball players/internet chatroom terrorists to buy some fertilizer from them…

    "Grow up", indeed.

    It was a pleasure to read Mr. Murray's perspective on the foiled terrorist plot.

    Alternatives to the Party (Repuliconservativelabour) Line are like gold these days.

  • richsmith2

    I feel a need to provide more insight into the US connection with a viewpoint of someone within in the United States. We have gone through a few outings of conspiracies similar to that of the "toothpaste bombers" in England. On Thursday, June 22nd of this year the FBI raided a warehouse in the Liberty City area of Miami, Florida and arrested 7 members of a quasi-Muslim group who were unknowingly plotting with an undercover agent to destroy the Sears Tower in Chicago, and local federal buildings in Florida. The Miami plotters may have come across as a rather ridiculous and bizarre lot, and a more composed judge of their acumen may have pointed out that they didn't even have the bus fare to get to Chicago, but their malicious intent still presented some danger to the general public. The same people contemplating packing back packs with explosives and detonating them on public transport would certainly be a serious danger. While the plotters in Great Britain were probably better supported and more enlightened in their contemplation and projection of violent activities against the public, my suspicion is that, without knowing the details of the conspiracy, their level of competence in its execution was fairly close to the "Miami 7". I even believed initially that given the news of the foiling of the plot was coming from Great Britain; there must have been a credible and eminent danger of terrorist activity. Here in the US I would have believed that is was just one more example of political hype and an administration grasping at straws. But with more information such as that contained in this "blog", the affair started to smell like a fish.

    I believe now that the exposure of the plot was in fact politically motivated and that its timing was probably orchestrated in the US. It now seems to me that the plot could have been exposed a month earlier or a month later with the same effect on the state of US and British security. The opportune time was after the Lamont primary victory. I believe the Republican leadership understands the significance of the victory and the subsequent morphing of that whiney fraud, Joe Lieberman, into an Independent much more than the leadership of the Democratic does. These events will just hasten the potential disintegration of the Democratic Party, having it playing out in the timeframe of the 2006 election year rather than 2008. If the Democrats don't start exhibiting one of the essential behaviors of a political party and expel members that do not support the core doctrine of that party, then the party will fall apart. It's been a long time since they have showed any sense of party discipline. With that dismemberment, the effective two party structure of US politics will change, which may be a good thing if it doesn't sooner result in the self destruction of the nation. I think that the Republicans understood it to be well worth their while to have the "toothpaste bombers" exposed at this time, enabling them again to amplify their terrorist dirge and direct its tenor against Lamont and the Democratic Party.

  • PAYO

    What richsmith2 has posted about the "Miami 7" is almost identical to the scenario surrounding the Toronto 17, with the obvious exception of the specific political motivations. However, our Prime Minister is in a relatively precarious position, with a minority government. He is slipping in the polls even though the only credible opposition party is without a leader. An election will probably be called for one reason or another within a couple of years and the conservatives will probably need a majority to avoid giving power back to the Liberals. A strong "War on Terror" pose is what Mr. Bush' gerbil is trying to strike (along with wars on crime, taxes, immigration, drugs, minorities, social programs…y'all know the script).

  • bob cat

    ——————————

    Quote from the American Press:

    ——————————

    Authorities at Scotland Yard are questioning a husband and wife, suspects in the London terror plot, about allegations that they were planning to use their baby's bottle to hide a liquid bomb.

    Police in the U.K. have recovered baby bottles containing peroxide, including some with false bottoms, from a recycling center close to the homes of some of the arrested suspects.

    The use of female suicide bombers has been successful in previous airplane attacks.

    —————————————————————-

    Hydrogen peroxide – for cleaning baby bottles

    —————————————————————-

    I don't want to belittle the police force of the U.K. or the home office but i think if they were to investigate the matter of baby bottles with peroxide in them a little further they might find that they are widespread over the whole of the United Kingdom. Baby bottles with traces of peroxide are extremely common objects – in fact they are the norm.

    Hudrogen peroxide solution can be used as a baby bottle cleaning and disinfecting product and can be purchased over the counter at any chemist.

    Any bottle that has been cleaned with this product will contain traces of hydrogen peroxide.

    I am sure there is no conspiracy, but poorly informed investigations and even poorer reporting is producing a circus that will eventually reflect badly on those without the will to check their information before they disseminate it.

    Check out a few more recycling centres around the country and you'll find it is in baby bottles everywhere.

    I pity the predicament of that poor couple.

    —————————————————————-

  • epaminondas

    ScottSA… those who by nature around 'here' find their own govts more dangerous than the objective reality of say a 'Lakshar' or the widely lauded teachings of Qutb AND the consequences of same, are no doubt the same people who would have voted for Stanley Baldwin, and gone right along with the Oxford Club of 1935 when they voted not to fight for King and Country.

    These people don't exhibit the healthy skepticsms of most americans who by nature HATE govt (repub or dem), rather they are those to whom the culture, history and nature of their civilization make mandatory the conclusion that anything govt does must be intentionally wrong if not evil.

    The FACT that govt's tend to amass power as a natural physical force, if you will, does NOT make them, evil, just human, and just as human is the desire to make sure we SURVIVE

    Timothy Mcveigh was no genius, and his group of hidden, barely noticeable miscreants not much different than the gavones in Miami .. but they succeeded easily.

    While objections to this (believing YOUR freely elected representative(s) a greater danger than the demonstrable inimical opponents to one's way of life) in the extreme may pass for the usual noise in a time of say, 1992, today as it was the day the Oxford club voted, and when Baldwin's ostrich acted was extant, – it is a non survival mutation.

    ScottSA, you will never overcome this prejudice with facts.

    Tasked with prevention of another 9/11 what WELL MEANING, or selfishly career protective public servant would err on the side of civil liberties, when a command of 'do you you attacks now' was sent to the very people under surveillance?

    Place yourself right in that position.

    The supposition that Bush was poltically desperate, itself, is, as an american who is a lifelong democrat .. simply stupid. Sorry Craig, but that's how I see that. Bush, for better or worse is VERY comfortable with the path he has chosen (we can argue about whether or not the path is valid, but his reasons for it are quite plain). The reasons for this situation should be contemplated by those who assign political motivation and a BIG LIE. Bush is worried about future history, and answerablility to a greater power, not 2006 and what the next OP ED says.

    I don't know Reid, so I can't comment on his personal proclivities.

    Your explanation sounds like projection to me.

  • Leo Sasquatch

    The media have told us that it was Muslims who were responsible for the attacks on September 11th 2001. The media have told us that it was Muslims that were responsible for the bombings in London on July 7th.

    If they're lying to us, how would we ever know? Where do they get their information from? The police and the government spokespeople, and the media will report verbatim anything these people say, because they've got a dozen newspapers and half-a-dozen 24-news channels and they've got to have something, anything, to put on the air.

    The police arrested two Muslim brothers, shooting one in the shoulder during the arrest, despite his being unarmed. They had 250 officers to arrest two men. They found nothing despite searcing the house and garden for days. Now, they claim to have found child pornography on a computer seized during the raid. It doesn't matter whether they're lying or not, if they later drop the charges due to 'lack of evidence' – that poor sod's finished in his community.

    The current flap over liquid explosives – which *very* quickly went in the UK press from 'plot' to 'alleged plot' – could have been easily manufactured, if it suited the government's purposes, whatever those purposes might be at any given time.

    I don't know what the government are up to. Chances are, large chunks of the government don't know what the government is up to. You know all those spy movies, and espionage thrillers, where a small group of really powerful people make decisions and tell cold, anonymous men to carry out their wishes. That happens in real life, only we don't get to see it happen, and it involves less motorcycles jumping over helicopters. Your average MP won't be privy to some of these decisions, chances are he/she won't even know the group exists.

    Don't believe me? Try going into the MI5 building someday. just to say "Hi, what you up to this week?" – see how far you get. As long as they figure that we the plebs don't need to know, we'll never know.

    If not for people like Craig Murray, our chances of ever hearing any other side to these stories would be far more limited.

  • rogilman

    PAYO, while you rightly qualify the Miami 7 business, I'd be careful about suggesting any nefarious intent on their part. The leader of the group is supposedly well known in the area as an egomaniac and hustler. The kind that says, "Sure, sure, you get me these things, man, and yeah, Chicago tower, yeah, Chicago, sounds cool, man." If these guys don't cop to get out from under the charges, I'd say it's going to be one entertaining trial.

    As for the British affair, most of the solid news seems to have come out in the first two or three days. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, the various police forces come up with.

  • craftnael

    enjoying the discourse here. Scott SA….there are so many people like you who believe the governments can't get away with lies, that they do….that and low IQs and the fear they instill in ordinary folk…

    here's some interesting tibits
    <a href="http://www.loosechange911.com” target=”_blank”>www.loosechange911.com

    cheers.

  • PAYO

    rogilman, admittedly I haven't been following the Miami story, nor even the British story all that closely, si it's quite possible that I've missed important elements.

    I'd agree with you as well about being cautious in ascribing "nefarious" motives to the players on the government's side. I'd say that "opportunism" is the word I'd use to account for the synchronicity in the timing of the plot discoveries in the 3 nations within weeks of each other.

    It seems pretty clear so far that in the Canadian case, the group member who showed the most initiative was the CSIS agent who was working the sting for his higher-ups.

    I'm thinking the trial might be entertaining as well.

    It's worth recalling that CSIS is the organization that bungled the investigation of the worst mass murder in Canadian history, the 1985 bombing of Air India flight 182 that killed more than 250 Canadian citizens.

  • john.o.hart

    Your thesis is reasonable, Craig, and I had already had similar thoughts myself. Be sceptical, you say, be very sceptical. But then you state that you are "certain that the timing is deeply political". How can you be both sceptical AND certain that the whole affair was plotted by the government? How do you "know for certain" that the timing was not chosen by Islamic terrorists so that gullible lefties like yourself would be "certain" that it must be a government plot? It seems to me that the timing, coming just after the Muslim leaders' open letter to the government, is just as convenient for them as for the government. The problem with conspiracy theories, as you surely have the intelligence and experience to be aware, is that you can always construct a conspiracy to fit the opposite of what you believe. I am afraid that your "conspiracy", as always, is merely the peddling of your own preconceptions and prejudices. How will your certainty look if the martydom videos now reported turn out to be genuine? Or are they faked by the government as well?

    As an example of your prejudices, you suggest that the low conviction rate of arrested Muslim suspects proves that the government is simply harassing Muslims. There is a similar low conviction rate of rapists, so do you believe that the reports of rape are invented by feminists in order to harass men?

    What I fail to understand is why left-wing opponents of the government have such a tolerant attitude towards fundamentalist Islam. The Muslim leaders and politicians in their open letter sought a recognition that the government's foreign policy was contributing to the alienation of Muslim youth. What I would like to see is a recognition from those self-same Muslim leaders that Islamic terrorism, and passages in the Koran calling for the killing of various opponents of Islam, is contributing to the anti-Islamic feeling they so object to. I am not anti-Islamic because of racism, I am anti-Islamic (I reject the term Islamophobic) for the same reasons I am anti-Nazi; i.e., I believe it is a destructive and oppressive ideology. Why should Muslims expect the government to change its policies to suit their requirements when they show no inclination to change their ideology to suit our requirements? Why do they object to the attacks on mosques by people alienated by Islamic terrorism, who are reacting in just the same way as the British Muslim terrorists? Just double standards again, I suppose.

  • PAYO

    john.o.hart, that governments lie to their people is so well-documented that it hardly bears repeating. That the media is complicit in this for structural reasons (not generally because of a "conspiracy") is also beyond question. That the US and British governments have lied to their people has been unequivocally documented again and again, and that the particulars of the most egregious of these lies concerns the nature and extent of the Islamic terrorist threat to the West is more than enough reason to be deeply sceptical of official pronouncements on this subject.

    This is particularly true when the aim of these pronouncements is to get the citizenry to give up protections against government intrusion into rights surrounding free speech, protection against arbitrary arrest and loss of due legal process.

    I would submit that you are anti-Islamic because you have swallowed the simplistic caricature of Muslims that had replaced the older caricatures of Jews and Blacks as the new "regrettable truth" that permits de-humanization of the people we want to crush.

    There is as much variation within the ranks of the world's 1.5 billion Muslims as there is amongst the world's Christians, not all of whom are bigotted, money-worshipping, anti-intellectual simpletons (although there are many of those within their ranks, just as there are militant jihadists among Muslims). Until you recognize this truth, that those of us who count Muslims among our friends and family know from experience, then you remain racist, your dissembling about the "ideology" notwithstanding.

    The crack about "leftists" tolerating fundamentalist Islam is just cheap rhetoric. Leftists tend to be deeply suspicious of religious fundamentalism in general, which is perhaps why they are so concerned about the presence of so many of them in the upper echelons of US power.

  • Craig

    john.o.hart

    But I haven't said the whole thing was a government conspiracy, or that there was no terror plot; we will see. I still doubt there was anthing of the scale and capability claimed.

    But the timing of the arrests was political, and in the event that there really was a plot, quite possibly premature – plenty of reputable sources have reported that the UK law enforcement agencies were unhappy that they were pushed into making arrests too soon.

    You strike me as too bright to need the Aunt Sally of pretending that I said the government invented the whole thing. I doubt that too.

  • Craig

    On Islamophobia

    So called Christians bomb abortion clinics and kill doctors in America. Catholics and US neo-con evangelicals are killing far more people than Bin Laden ever will, by their doctrinaire opposition to condoms underminging the fight against AIDS in Africa.

    Yet Christ was a great teacher, and his moral precepts basically sound. The same is true of Islam. I am against religious intolerance. I am against the suppression of women. But I am also against the stigmatisation of one of the World's great religions. 95% of Judaism, Christianity and Islam is held in common. We need more discussion and understanding, and to encourage moderate and progressive elements in Islam, as in Christianity and Judaism. Your simple hatred is lazy and uneducated, John. Islamophobe is the right word for you.

  • Jeff

    To Craig and john o. hart

    There is a common humanitarian thread that does connect most religions. However in each religion there are fragmentary groups willing to take the written word out of context and to the extreme in meaning. It is very difficult to argue religious dogma, because people will interpret script and believe what they want.

    If there is a moral truism that we should all hold on to is the freedom to pursue religion, because in the end people will do it anyway. You cannot bomb an ideology. This is one reason why most westernized nations have incorporated this freedom in their written constitutions.

    The Bush administration would like us all to believe that Islamic terrorism is the most important threat that exists in our lives. Keeping aside their reasons for doing this, fatalities from other domestic causes far exceed any terrorist attacks to date in the U.S.

    For example almost as many Americans die each month from gunshot wounds as died in the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and U. A. flight 93 combined, and that's just one of the social ills in the United States.

  • john.o.hart

    Payo's accusation that I am racist is unjustified and offensive. Muslims are a religious group, not a racial group. If I said I was anti-Nazi, would that be rejected as anti-German racism? In what way is it racist to object to the death penalty for apostates and blasphemers, which we have seen many Muslims calling for? These calls are supported by the highest leaders of Islam, e.g. the fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini against Salman Rushdie. When did the Pope or the Archbishop of Canterbury last call for someone to be killed?

    Just because much anti-Muslim sentiment arises from racist attitudes is no reason to assume that all anti-Muslim sentiment arises from the same sources. That is precisely the kind of sloppy thinking that racists adopt. It is also the kind of sloppy thinking that leads many so-called leftists to support Islamists because they are anti-American. The principle of "my enemy's enemy is my friend" is responsible for many of the world's problems. Payo should look at people like Lindsey German, who is prepared to forgive Islamists their homophobia and suppression of women because they oppose the USA and Israel. What price leftist principles there?

  • leo

    stop talking and writting don't use what is really precious for a dead man

    you better pray

    life will come up with a different face

    pray instead of wasting time and split

  • drewg

    I believe it is very short-sighted to only look at the past 30 years in order to truly understand what is going on with this world. Allow me to first give a brief overview where all this came from, and then I will give you my opinion on what is happening.

    It is clear that there is a clash between two civilization – two mentalities – two basic visions of the world. These two cannot coexist unless there is some sort of diluting, which in itself would be a disgrace to its own ideologies. On the one hand, you have the Islamic regime, which from the beginning of its inception in the 8th century, have propagated itself through persecution, whether by the sword or by heavy taxes. Within the 300 years afterwards, Islam literally wiped out countless Judeo-Christian cities and villages of its people. The mandate was clear: A good Muslim must do everything he can to make the whole world submissive to Allah through the teachings in the Koran. Those who refuse to convert are heavily oppressed or killed.

    Christianity has a similar yet different belief. They are not instruments to God's wrath and judgment, but should put their confidence in Him. Recall the Biblical verse "To whoever strikes you on the right cheek, do not withhold your left". There should be martyr-like patience on their part, until the opposition are ashamed of their evil and finally repent. There are many writing about this thing actually happening, but we tend to focus on when patience ran out and the desire for self-defense took preeminence. Of course, the Crusades. When Islam had taken over Jerusalem, and was quickly spreading into South-Eastern Europe, the Romans relied on the sword rather than their biblical teachings. Now was this for the better or for the worse, I do not know. But it happened, and the Roman Christian not only massacred the Muslim soldiers but also the innocent, even the Middle-Eastern Christian whom they could not distinguish. Was this injustice and crime justified? Did the means justify the end? I don't think so.

    And persecution has continued ever since. Any Christian living in a majoritarily Muslim country would be able to tell of countless events of persecution and murder up till this day. Even the Christians who lived or live in relatively moderate-Islamic countries like Egypt know all-too-much of the day to day oppression and bias at schools and at the workplace. The Muslim core beliefs have not and will not change just as much as the Christian core beliefs.

    This is my brief overview. Now to the present.

    There is still a clash between civilizations here. There is still much oppression and murders at the hands of Muslims in Indonesia, in South Asia, in Africa, and in the Middle-East. Unlike killings that occur everywhere in the world due to money, lack of fidelity, and power, these Muslims are killing on behalf of the other persons' religion. This happens whether by beheading Christian school girls in Indonesia or by grand bombing and suicide-bombing. As it was a thousand years ago, so it is now. And once again, there is a Crusade. But there is a very strong notion of being politically correct. The West cannot generalize and say all Muslims are evil, and it cannot say Islam is evil (because of the moderate believers), therefore it must invent a concrete body to attack. I'm thinking Bin Laden and Al-Qaida. Now how can you convince your own party (namely the Judeo-Christians mostly in the West), who have never felt any of the persecution, to squash the opposing party (namely Islam mostly in the Middle-East)? Well basically, you must convince them that they are evil and need to be contained in order to maintain your own freedom of religion (and of expression, etc.). So when the West starts oppressing and suppressing with a heavy hand the Islamic countries (especially economically), it is only natural that these countries will hate the West even more, and begin to mobilize more efficiently to defeat such a powerful enemy. And of course, they will kill many and be willing to die. Now, who is on the position of self-defense and who is the attacker? I believe both parties are simultaneously both, and will remain this way. Now what happens if there isn't enough support from the people in the West, and what happens when the leaders are terrified of the potential (and perhaps imminent) threat of this opposing ideology? It is quite possible that they begin the whole "end justifies means" process all over again.

    So in conclusion, should we continue to squabble over whether or not the U.S. and the West are dishonest in order to push their agenda? I don't think so. It is clear that they will stop at nothing, not even the dissolution of the United-States of America, in order to prevent the enemy Islamic ideology to propagate uncontrollably. It is clear that they have an astounding "the greater good" mentality. It is very possible that even at the expense of the human rights of a few Muslims imprisoned here and there, and at the expensive of temporarily (I hope) giving up the right to privacy of Americans, and even at the expense of murdering "only" a couple of thousand American in the WTC (whether they orchestrated the incident or permitted it or simply hoped that it would happen), the West believes that this is what is best for the global civilization.

    We must now realize the truth and stop being sidetracked by recent events and details. What we have to do is acknowledge that there is a clash of civilizations and stop fantasizing that it will magically disappear. We must have open debates on the course of action. We can either decide to eradicate misinformation, propaganda and hatred, to dialogue with the adversary and draw a border between the two camps, and simply agree to disagree, or we can duke it our until one party is completely subdued, at the expensive of countless lives.

    Andrew

  • Evgueni

    The wrongs committed in our name by the Blair and Bush governments cannot be tolerated. However, be it self-deception or outright lying by leaders and government ministers, the complicity by the media and the civil servants, these are all symptoms, not causes. It is human nature to use any situation to one's advantage and we should expect that very few are able to resist surrendering some of their integrity in exchange for something. Some will have no integrity to start with, only an ability to project an image of integrity. Yes Blair and Bush are particularly unsavoury examples of the political elites that they represent, but their extreme agendas are just noise on the surface of a much deeper problem that is called 'democratic deficit'. Bush and Blair are not the first leaders to lie, act undemocratically and lead us into wars of aggression.

    I strongly suspect that purely representative democracies of various forms eventually and inevitably converge onto a corrupted mode of operation in which only the formal trappings of democracy are still in place but the essence of democratic choice is lost. This may come as a shock to some of course, because everyday our supposed democratic freedoms are celebrated by those who are directly and indirectly in power and the popular media that they directly or indirectly own and control. After all this is what we regularly go to war for, our democratic freedoms and values! To question that we really have these freedoms is unthinkable, right?

    There is no conspiracy here. Self-deception by the elites and the intellectuals is explanation enough. It is only human to rationalise and justify the status quo when the alternatives appear threatening to one's future. They do it for the good of the country, for the benefit of all the little people who are not deemed capable of informed choice beyond selecting which wing of the political elite, 'socialist' or 'conservative', are to rule them next. Public opinion, public perceptions are to be managed for the public's own good. The intellectuals agree. Of course, just look at the common people, isn't it obvious that if they had anything to do with government we'd still have public hangings. Divide and rule..

    When I was growing up in the USSR, we had compulsory voting in elections. The only candidates allowed to stand were Communist Party ones. In the next compulsory vote the best we could hope for was that the last guy would be replaced with .. another communist. That was the extent of our participation. We were told by state-owned media and by our leaders that we lived in a democracy. What is the fundamental difference between that and what goes on here? The extent of our political involvement is to choose between nominally different party candidates once every 4-5 years. But the majority of them belong to the same elitist club sponsored by big business. They are mostly very comfortable with the idea that they know best.

    The media are owned and/or controlled by the same people who sponsor the political parties and their election campaigns. A huge chunk of the popular media's revenue comes from corporate advertising. Will they represent fully and fairly the spectrum of political opinion, or will they systematically tend to suppress certain unwelcome views? E. Herman and N. Chomsky did a thorough investigation of the popular media in the US in their book 'Manufacturing Consent'. Whilst the evidence their model relies on is mostly US-centric, the general principles will apply equally to the UK media. So what if occasionally a marginalised dissenting voice like that of Craig Murray is allowed to be heard. Is this the extent of what we mean by a free media? It makes as good as no difference.

    Pure representative democracies really belong in the same place as one party tyrannies and absolute monarchies. 'Leaders', too, belong in the bin of history. Separation of news networks and capital is as fundamental a requirement as the separation of church and state. Distribution of information has to be the most important public service of all. The BBC is a public service only in the sense that the public pay for it. How many Britons are even aware that a democratic society in which the people are the true sovereign and author of their country's constitution on a continuous basis, already exists since over a 100 years ago? One of the most egalitarian countries in the world, with the highest per capita GDP and consistently the lowest unemployment. It does not go to war and it is not a target of terrorist attacks. If this sounds interesting, why not read Gregory A. Fossedal's 'Direct Democracy in Switzerland'. Or google 'Direct Democracy', this idea's time has come.

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