Terror plot starts to fail in the mainstream 4


The BBC carried two pieces yeaterday that suggest the liquid explosive Terror Plot is looking rather less robust than has been previously suggested…

UK ‘plot’ terror charge dropped

A Pakistani judge has ruled there is not enough evidence to try a key suspect in an alleged airline bomb plot on terrorism charges. He has moved the case of Rashid Rauf, a Briton, from an anti-terrorism court to a regular court, where he faces lesser charges such as forgery.

Pakistan has presented Mr Rauf as one of the ringleaders behind the alleged plan to blow up flights out of London. The British authorities say they foiled it with Pakistan’s help in August. They say proceedings against suspects arrested in Britain will go ahead.

‘Explosives’

The arrest of Rashid Rauf in Pakistan triggered arrests in the United Kingdom of a number of suspects allegedly plotting to blow up transatlantic flights. The Pakistani authorities described him as a key figure. But an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi found no evidence that he had been involved in terrorist activities or that he belonged to a terrorist organisation.

As well as forgery charges, Mr Rauf has also been charged with carrying explosives. But his lawyer says police evidence amounts only to bottles of hydrogen peroxide found in his possession. Hydrogen peroxide is a disinfectant that can be used for bomb-making if other chemicals are added.

The BBC’s Barbara Plett in Islamabad says the judge’s decision has reinforced the already widespread scepticism there about the airliner plot. Several commentators said the threat was deliberately exaggerated to bolster the anti-terror credentials of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and that it helped to demonise British Muslims of Pakistani origin.

The Crown Prosecution Service in the UK said the dropping of charges against Mr Rauf in Pakistan would “make no difference” to the case against the men charged in Britain.

‘Suspected conspiracy’

In August, the British government requested the extradition of Mr Rauf, a Briton of Pakistani origin who returned to Pakistan four years ago, in connection with a 2002 murder. Scotland Yard declined to discuss which murder case the request related to. The government in Pakistan, which has no extradition treaty with the UK, said it was considering the request.

Rashid Rauf was arrested in Pakistan earlier that month over the alleged plot to blow up US-bound aircraft, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said.

He has been described by Pakistan’s government as a “key person” in the “suspected conspiracy”. The August arrests led to increased airport security around the world, causing major disruption. Passengers on many flights were forbidden to take liquids aboard aircraft.

Terror search ends amid cash row

Scotland Yard anti-terror officers are to stop a search of woodland linked with the alleged airliners bomb plot amid a dispute over funding. Thames Valley Police, which was guarding the woods near High Wycombe, Bucks, had said it might pull the plug over spiralling costs.

The force demanded the Home Office cover the ‘8m cost. Plans for either military personnel or fencing to be used to seal the site are understood to have been rejected. The search operation started after the alleged plot was uncovered in August.

Thames Valley Police are thought to have threatened to “walk away from the scene” if it did not get some financial assistance from the Home Office. The Home Office said its request was still being considered.

Pension reserves option

It is thought Thames Valley may have to dip into pension fund reserves to ensure the force has enough money to cover any unexpected costs next year, if the Home Office turns down its request for extra funding. Last month, the local force ended its search of Kings Wood and moved onto the Booker Common area.

Ch Supt Graham Bell, from Thames Valley Police, had described the Kings Wood search as “one of the most intensive large-scale searches I can remember”. The alleged plot sparked a massive security operation at Britain’s airports and MI5 raised the attack threat level in the UK to critical – its highest.

The authorities believed the targets were both US and UK airlines flying to all parts of the US.

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


4 thoughts on “Terror plot starts to fail in the mainstream

  • ScottSA

    This attempt to whitewash the airline plot is very weak. You present internal squabbles over funding as the case "falling apart"? Or the fact that a suspect in Pakistan can't be charged because of a lack of evidence is somehow crucial to the actions of the plotters in Britain?

  • atlasjuggs

    Well, Scott, it looks like we have a bunch of guys with an antiseptic product and an idea that wouldn't work. Conspiracy? Yeah–if they in fact recorded martyrdom videos, which I'm going to reserve judgment on given that the rest of the evidence seems to be evaporating before our eyes.

    Clear and present danger? Hardly. Certainly not enough of a danger that millions of people needed to be thrown into a panic.

    Wake up, Scott. There are people out there who stay in power because they have succeeded in scaring you about stuff that shouldn't scare you.

  • ScottSA

    Ok, I shook myself awake, and yet it seems 911, the USS Cole and the London Tube bombings all actually did DID take place in spite of my snooze. It would appear that the killing of nuns, Islamic riots in France and several embassy bombings across the globe also took place in spite of my snoring.

    In spite of my fear being irrational, there are still 257 active Islamic terror groups afoot and aplot in the world, and huge swathes of territory around the world enveloped in war solely attributable to Islam.

    But some people prefer to be lulled to sleep with ridiculous conspiracy theories set to the soft background caterwauling of CAIR, or in your case MPACUK.

    Who needs to wake up?

  • atlasjuggs

    But some people prefer to be lulled to sleep with ridiculous conspiracy theories set to the soft background caterwauling of CAIR, or in your case MPACUK.

    What's the conspiracy theory here: MPACUK, or Scotland Yard's ridiciulous overreaction when 20 guys with antiseptic and an idea that wouldn't work caused a major economic disruption throughout the world?

    Ok, I shook myself awake, and yet it seems 911, the USS Cole and the London Tube bombings all actually did DID take place in spite of my snooze. It would appear that the killing of nuns, Islamic riots in France and several embassy bombings across the globe also took place in spite of my snoring.

    How do you ever walk out the door in the morning? My, you are brave! I live in London. Dying tragically–be it hit by a speeding car, knifed in a mugging or blown up in a Tube bombing–is part of the risk I take every day of my life. I don't consider myself brave. I just consider it one of those things that needs to be done. Most Londoners would react the same way. Interesting, isn't it?

    In spite of my fear being irrational, there are still 257 active Islamic terror groups afoot and aplot in the world, and huge swathes of territory around the world enveloped in war solely attributable to Islam.

    And, um, the war we started with the country that wasn't a threat to anyone.

    You can choose to be scared. I choose not to.

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