Politically Timed “Terror” Arrests – the Real Bob Quick Scandal 114

The mainstream media is in a flurry of excitement over the “Terror” arrests of students in the North West of England. Linked to this is the media feeding frenzy over the resignation of Bob Quick, Scotland Yard’s anti-terror chief. It is important to note that the Quick incident only brought forward the arrests by a few hours. Yet in all the acres of coverage in the newspapers, and all the hype on TV, nobody seems to have noticed the real story.

It was an accident that Bob Quick had his secret document on display as he was photographed entering Downing St.

But it was no accident that he was photographed entering Downing Street.

No 10 is a Tardis-like building which is far more impressive inside than out, and which seems impossibly large. Its secret is that it links straight through to No 11 and, more importantly, through to the huge Cabinet Office building that runs along Whitehall. The Cabinet Office is the central secretariat of the British government and in effect the office of the Prime Minister. The separation of the No 10 staff and the Cabinet Office staff is a polite fiction. The government’s major interdepartmental committees meet in the Cabinet Office, including the sexy Joint Intelligence Committee and its sub-committees. One of the fascinating things about the vast Cabinet Office building is that it incorporates parts of the original fabric of the Tudor Whitehall Palace.

In the first Iraq War I used to hand carry intelligence reports to No 10, and sometimes had to explain them personally to Mrs Thatcher. I never once took one in the front door. In fact I have only ever walked in the front door of No 10 when accompanying a foreign dignitary or attending a party. The front door is for people the government wants to be seen ?” hence the permanent stand of photographers which captured Bob Quick. People arriving to brief on secret matters go in through the back door, or more likely through the Cabinet Office.

So why did the government want us to see that Bob Quick was entering No 10? The only possible answer is that, had things gone more smoothly in the arrest of the “Terror suspects”, the government would have paraded the footage of Quick entering no 10 as evidence that it was really Glorious Gordon and Genius Jacqui who had directed the operation and saved the world – again.

It is very, very wrong ?” it violates the whole spirit of the constitution ?” for politicians to be involved in arresting people. If the police had real evidence that these people are terrorists, then of course they should have been arrested when the Police felt the right moment had come. That moment is when they have sufficient evidence, and are not putting the public at risk by undue delay. That is a technical decision requiring skill, expertise and experience in operational policing.

It is a matter of the criminal law. It is absolutely not the business of Jacqui Smith and Gordon Brown. But we know that under New Labour the politicians are deciding who should be arrested and when. We know that for sure because then Home Secretary John Reid said in terms that he decided when the arrests should be made in the farcical “Bigger than 9/11”, (though in the event non-existent), “Liquid airplane bomb plot” case.

If politicians are going to decide the timing of arrests, then they cannot be surprised or aggrieved if we suspect that the timing of arrests is political.

This was definitely the case in the “Liquid Bomb Plot”. I know for certain from my own sources that in that case the intelligence services believed they had been forced by politicians to act too soon. That was quite widely reported at the time.

The view that John Reid had acted too early appears proved by a complex series of verdicts brought in by the jury. Less than half of those arrested actually were brought to trial. The jury found that three of the accused did have an intention to commit terror, but had formed no definite plan and specifically cleared them of the charge of planning to down aeroplanes with explosives.

Why had Reid jumped the gun? Because the Americans asked him to. With Bob Quick’s predecessor, the disgraced Andy Hayman, giving an official Scotland Yard view that the “Liquid Bomb Plot” was “Bigger than 9/11″ and involved plans to fly up to a dozen passenger jets simultaneously into different US cities, the resulting worldwide front page headlines were a Godsend for Bush in mid-term elections. They also enable the government to permanently ramp up the fear factor by the ludicrous toothpaste and shampoo searches that make flying so miserable.

In the liquid bomb plot do you remember the massive banner headlines ?” the full front page of every single tabloid in the UK -about the evil Muslim mother who planned to blow up herself and her baby along with the plane? There was no media reporting at all when she was cleared and released. The “Suspicious chemical” which police announced they had found in baby bottles was, errr, baby bottle sterilising solution.

The reasons why these “Terror raids” might be the subject of political timing could not be more obvious. Both Jacqui Smith and Gordon Brown were getting a well-deserved media pasting over the outrageous ripping off of the taxpayer for personal benefit through expense claims. The Metropolitan Police were under extreme criticism for their unprovoked killing of Ian Tomlinson.

So this morning, instead of the news headline being the disgraceful fact that the policeman who launched an unprovoked assault from behind on Ian Tomlinson has still not been arrested, the headline is that the police have saved us all from certain death.

Let me be plain. I am not saying that terrorism does not exist. I am not saying that those arrested are innocent. I do not know. I am saying that Brown and Smith’s involvement in operational police arrests, and the fact that less than 1% of those arrested under anti-terror legislation in the UK have ever been charged with anything connected to terrorism, gives me the right to be suspicious of what is undeniably, at the very least, politically very fortuitous timing.

It is also the arrest of alleged terrorists from Pakistan, at a time when the government is under both parliamentary and criminal investigation for participation in torture of terrorist suspects in Pakistan. The government has responded by arguing that intelligence from torture abroad is necessary to save lives in the UK. I have no doubt that we will find the government arguing that this “terror plot” justifies their case.


Because of this suspicion, I will be setting a high test for evidence that these arrests really were needed at this time. The accusation is that a bombing campaign was ready for this Easter ?” ie now. If that is true, there must be explosives and detonators ready, or in the very final stages of preparation. We will see.

According to Sky News this morning, police searches so far have discovered photographs of leading buildings in Manchester taken by the students.

I studied Russian in St Petersburg. I have photographs I took of the Hermitage, of the Church on the Holy Blood, of the St Peter and Paul Fortress, of the bridges over the Neva, of the ornate underground stations. I studied Polish in Lublin. I have photographs of Lublin castle, of the main shopping street, of the Catholic University of Lublin…

I have, in fact, photographs of prominent buildings everywhere I ever studied. And photographis in bars and nightclubs.

Why do the police feel the need to feed out to the media the complete non-news of the non-evidence that they have discovered photographs of Manchester in Manchester? Why was it necessary for the Prime Minister to make a statement announcing the arrests? What does that do to the chances of a fair trial? Why was it never necessary to make a prime ministerial statement every time a suspected Irish terrorist ?” and remember they really did blow up the Arndale Centre in Manchester ?” was arrested?

There are many genuine and diligent people carrying out counter-terrorism work in the police and intelligence services, working the old-fashioned way with painstaking accumulation of evidence. They do save lives and they should be applauded and supported. They should be free from political interference and distanced from politicians.

They may have foiled a genuine plot here. If so they must be congratulated. The Home Secretary ?”who has not foiled any plots – should have been briefed after arrests were made, and there should be no room for suspicion that politicians had interfered.

That would have stuck to the cardinal rule of only telling people who actually have to know about an operation – and the rule of not carting around secret documents for no purpose.

The photo leak ?” which could indeed have jeopardised a security operation which may or may not prove to have been vital – was caused directly by the excessive and completely unnecessary involvement of the politicians in policing detail.

A police state is not a state where the police rule. It is a state where there is no distance between the politicians and police.

A police state is a state where a policeman can be caught on camera launching an unprovoked fatal assault from behind, yet not be arrested. A police state is a state where the police raid the parliamentary offices of opposition MPs. A police state is a state where it is the politicians who are making the decisions on who gets arrested and when.

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114 thoughts on “Politically Timed “Terror” Arrests – the Real Bob Quick Scandal

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  • Jess

    “How can you talk such complete rubbish? I recall on an earlier ost you told us he died of a heart attack brought on by alcohol. Clearly you and medical scisnce are strangers.”

    It’s more likely years of alcholism killed him than one little fall that he got up and walked away from, don’t you think? But you’re right that we must keep an open mind and not assert anything as fact and prejudice the inquiry.

  • Jaded

    ‘The idea that seperate police forces in another part of the country moved an incredibly sensitive and complex anti terror opertion, and that the head of counter terror deliberately got himself fired, all to put this incident where a heart attack victim was pushed over by the Met in London, only to second place on the news, is quite clearly insane.’

    You have neglected to mention the expenses scandal. It was Tomlinson AND the expenses scandal that triggered those raids now. I would say devious more than insane, but an insane idea nonetheless. You are certainly right there Jess. I take it you mean ‘insane’ like Iraq was. As for Quick, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was glad to escape their clutches. Craig and I seem to disagree on the leak, but that’s democracy. Hopefully he doesn’t want to throw me in a dungeon. I don’t understand why you post here Jess? You just end up looking silly all the time from what I have seen. I’m sure you don’t upset anyone either. The folk here seem too mature. Why not grow a conscience and join the dissenting ranks? You on a payroll or something? The increasing loss of our liberties is plain to see.

  • craig

    ‘The idea that seperate police forces in another part of the country moved”

    Actually the Bob Quick position carried a unique responsibility outside the Met to coordinate all Polce counterterrorism activities nationwide

  • MerkinOnParis

    StefZ’s Daily Mash post was hilarious.

    I do think that Quick deliberately flashed his docs – the government has recent form on that with the Caroline Flint case being opened by the same photographer.

    The thing that hasn’t been examined fully is what instructions the senior inspector gave to the assailant before the Tomlinson attack – you can see it in the channel 4 video ie immediately before attacking, the officer concerned appears to be receiving orders from his senior.

  • Joseph

    Jess says that he can’t see how the baton assault on Tomlinson could be the cause of his death “given Tomlinson walked away from the incident”.

    No so. There is a legal principle known as “the eggshell skull rule”, which holds that a person is liable for all the consequences following from any injury they cause to another person, even if that other person has a pre-existing vulnerability or medical condition which causes them to suffer serious injury or death. This means that if it can be shown that Tomlinson’s heart stopped because of the baton assault on him, then the police officer is responsible for causing his death.

  • subrosa

    ‘It’s more likely years of alcholism killed him than one little fall that he got up and walked away from, don’t you think? ‘

    Jess you know what they say about people who assume don’t you? There is no evidence that excessive alcohol would kill a person of 47, believe me. Ask AA for it, google it, do the lot. You won’t find anyone prepared to say that a person with an alcohol dependancy is prone of a heart attack under the age of 50.

    Do try to do some research before you post blethers.

  • kevin

    an excellent piece which is why I now visit this blog on a regular basis to get an informed view and which on this occasion I wholeheartedly agree with.in a police state they can suppress,at will, the (copious)cctv in the city of london and this is what they have done here..?

  • Vronsky

    A blow to the head which seems unthreatening or even trivial at the time can kill. Apparently the accident which killed Liam Neeson’s wife was quite minor. Many years ago a close friend of mine died after a minor shunt in a car in which he bumped his head against the roof of the car. He laughed, rubbed his head, went home and died in his sleep of an epidural haematoma. The BEEB is so emphatic in its attribution of Tomlinson’s death to a heart attack that one is bound to suspect it to be a lie – such times have we come to. But let us indeed hear all the evidence – including that of the witnesses who say that the assault by the police shown in the Guardian footage was not the first on Mr Tomlinson.

    On the other hand, I have to agree with Jess to the extent that Quick’s resignation seems like overkill – if they’d simply wanted to bury the news of Tomlinson’s killing, the raids on ‘suspects’ were quite adequate, given the inevitable gleeful connivance of the BBC and most of the rest of the MSM. Equally, resignation is become so uncommon that one feels Quick’s action serves some ends beyond those given.

    Oh – and perhaps we should warn Jess that nowadays, styling something a ‘conspiracy theory’ is a pretty dependable hallmark of its truth.

  • Jaded

    Yes the raids were adequate, but they wouldn’t have happened if Quick hadn’t done the leak. So ‘if’ you were to agree with my view – and you may well not – that he deliberately did the leak, then the resignation was just a simple consequence of that. They probably foresaw that he would likely have to resign when they concocted it all. He had to go after a ‘mistake’ like that.

  • J7

    Craig, Great article. Thanks.

    Some observations…

    Jess wrote at April 10, 2009 7:12 PM:

    >”The liquid bomb plotters were convicted, of course, so who knows what you are going on about there.”

    & at April 10, 2009 7:30 PM:

    “That’s why people are so ignorant of other huge plots that were successfully convicted, like the liquid bomb plot, the fertilizer one, and the plot to behead a British soldier, etc.”

    The ‘Fertiliser’ ‘conspiracy’ trial featured the testimony of overworked ‘Al Queda supergrass’ _Mohammed Junaid Babar_ & the testimonial evidence (obtained from the torture of Amin in Pakistan, under the knowledge of the UK spooks) of _Salahuddin Amin_.

    The ‘Liquid (airline) bomb plot ‘conspiracy’, which (as Craig notes) was revealed to the public in government home office/treasury/police tizzy circumstances when the Bank of England published some sanctions), has not been ‘successfully’ convicted at all.

    In the first trial, the person touted as the ‘key’ ‘ringleader’ (Mohammed Gulzar) was acquitted of all charges and was formally discharged at the conclusion of Trial No. 1 (April 08 ?” September 08). Three of the original 21 persons arrested (Abdullah Ali, Assad Sarwar,, and Tanvir Hussain) _admitted_(plea-bargained) conspiracy to cause explosions likely to endanger life, but the jury was unable to reach verdicts on a second charge of conspiracy to murder by blowing up passenger jets. (Expect the verdict shortly after Easter, delivered to the public, around the time of whenever the next ‘bury-bad-news day’ falls).

    However a second trial commenced in February 2009. The jury in this trial (which is jury set No.3 – the previous juries having been dismissed on 18th February 2009 (http://preview.tinyurl.com/ambsne) & on 27th February 2009 (http://preview.tinyurl.com/aj5qs4)) has yet to deliver its’ verdict.

    With regard to the plot to behead a British soldier, if you remember that ‘conspiracy’ also involved a government/police/media tizzy (http://preview.tinyurl.com/c47hwh).

  • tristan

    Seems to me that, no matter how junior or senior, it was a weird thing that he went in the front door carrying papers without a folder or briefcase.

    Surely something as sensitive as this should have been kept very quiet if it was neceassary at all. Back door, papers in a locked briefcase, etc.

    It wasn’t something to do with trying to distract attention from Ms Smith and her smutty husband’s entertainment choices, and her need to claim expenses for bath plugs at 88p, was it?

    If so, it’s no wonder Mr Quick got his massive pension deal……

  • mark

    “There is no evidence that excessive alcohol would kill a person of 47, believe me. Ask AA for it, google it, do the lot. You won’t find anyone prepared to say that a person with an alcohol dependancy is prone of a heart attack under the age of 50.”

    Actually Jess is right on this point. If someone has been an alcoholic for all of their life, and is a chain smoker, it is not uncommon for them to have heart attack by the time of their late 40s. It can happen to them even in their 30s. That’s why it’s not good to be a heavy drinker and smoker.

    It is unlikely that a healthy man would have died from this assault.

  • Ruth

    I’ve learnt that anything that appears stupid or incompetent in relation to government activities is not as it seems. To me Quick’s exposure was contrived and most definitely related to the death of Ian Tomlinson. If the police launched the raid, then it would be blatantly obvious they wanted to bury the G20 death. But with the added dimension of Quick’s ‘folly’ it looks less obvious. Quick may have been intending to retire and offered himself up. Surely there are cases where government agents go to prison ‘for the good of the country’ and go out the back door. Maybe he’s going to get an additional bonus from government offshore funds.

  • Anas Taunton


    Gordon Brown has been pushing the same line about Pakistan ever since he became P.M.. It is a view singularly his own that that wonderful country and its lovely Muslim people are a threat to the U.K. in some form.

    He keeps on repeating the lie, but he is unwilling to ask the question why maybe two million patriotic ( to the UK ) Pakistanis have decided to make the U.K. their home because they respect this country and its values.

    Can Mr Brown explain to us why the British are attacking Afghanistan and what he expects Afghanistan’s neighbours to feel about this invasion? The British public is not easily going to be softened up for another illegal invasion. The last person who will persuade them is another New Labour Prime Minister. Just as with Gaza and the Banking Crisis, Gordon Brown is showing us again that he doesn’t understand anything about British public opinion.

    Yes Mr Quick’s personal life has been too often on the front pages of daily newspapers for the liking of the spin-merchants of New Labour. But Mr Brown will also be walking the gang plank long before the next election, because they know we know he doesn’t know anything about anything.

  • Sam

    Jess says that he can’t see how the baton assault on Tomlinson could be the cause of his death “given Tomlinson walked away from the incident”.

    No so. There is a legal principle known as “the eggshell skull rule”, which holds that a person is liable for all the consequences following from any injury they cause to another person, even if that other person has a pre-existing vulnerability or medical condition which causes them to suffer serious injury or death.

    >>> Jess, see R v Blau: Lawton LJ ruling that, as a matter of public policy, those “who use violence on others must take their victims as they find them.”, invoking the thin-skull rule.

    (Better still, invest in a CPE course, it’ll save you making yourself look so daft so often.)

  • nextus

    RIP the comedian Lennie Bennett – who, the papers report today, “died from a fall”, although not immediately. NuLab should be familiar with the phenomenon of delayed death – remember what happened to Donald Dewar?

    * That was a wonderfully incisive post, Craig; you have a gift for distilling absurdities from official prevarication.

  • Faisal Ahmad

    Great insight.

    If you like this post then you must also read this book: “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception”

  • Jaded

    ‘RIP the comedian Lennie Bennett ?” who, the papers report today, “died from a fall”, although not immediately. NuLab should be familiar with the phenomenon of delayed death ?” remember what happened to Donald Dewar?’

    I know nothing of the Dewar case. If we are talking suspicious Labour deaths though, and i’m not sure if that’s what you are actually getting at, I would throw John Smith and Robin Cook into the equation. This is always tricky ground, but I felt I should at least air my doubts. I know some people may well pooh pooh me. That’s ok. As long as it isn’t The Jessy… 🙂

  • nextus

    Jaded, my point was that when a death occurs after a fall, it can be attributed to that fall (contrary to what the trolls are claiming about Tomlinson). Donald Dewar, then Scotland’s first minister, fell on the steps of his Edinburgh residence and reassured everyone he was fine, but soon became ill and died a few hours later. (He wasn’t surreptitiously assassinated by the establishment; nor was Lennie Bennett, for that matter.)

    Back to Bob Quick: on his ‘blogoir’ the eminent Charles G Crawford tries to refute Craig’s argument thus: “Craig in a fine example of the Law of the Excluded Middle claims that because he himself has been through the front door on No 10 only with a senior delegation or attending a party, no-one else can use that entrance for attending meetings.”

    This is hardly much of a criticism, since the Law of Excluded Middle is one of the fundamental axioms of logic! I guess he’s obliquely referring to the Fallacy of False Dilemma, which results from its misapplication. But even then, he’s still wrong: he’s actually insinuating the Fallacy of Accident (a generalisation error). And anyway, his critique misses the mark. Craig’s argument doesn’t depend on simple logical form, but is based on contextual reasoning and complex implication. Sorry to burst your ego bubble, Chuck, but you’re about as logical as Humpty-Dumpty. The critique only works if *you* commit the error. So much for your ‘nice knock-down argument’. *Professional Criticism Rating: 1/10*

    Have a look at the self-indulgence in his blogoir: he gives his own “Professional Judgement Rating” of Craig’s actions in all his commentaries. Not only is this desperately patronising; it has very disturbing overtones. It is evident throughout that Chuck equates professionalism with the suppression of embarrassing facts which might jeopardise the establishment’s ‘greater’ interests. In a blog on the Independent entitled “Asking diplomats to hold their tongues” he confesses: “Twice as an FCO official I played a part in squashing the British public’s hopes of seeing fascinating confidential official documents.” He ends with a telling aphorism, “Like fish, governments rot from the head.” Indeed. His own attitude exemplifies the moral decay. He was an establisment toady, maverick only in regard of his vanity.

    Craig is right about Chuck’s lack of modesty: he’s a bit of peacock. Read his blogoir: he frequently refers to his own status or expertise and denigrates others. Incidentally, I note that, like other egotists, he has contributed to his own Wikipedia entry (dutifully started by the FCO’s Clare Goodall), using the identity ‘C Crawford CMG’ ?” do you know of anyone else who parades appointed letters their Wiki username? (Consider, by comparison, that Craig successively declined 3 British honours ?” LVO, OBE & CVO. This says a lot about their respective personalities.) *Professional psychological assessment: Narcissistic Personality Disorder* (which I guess is just another attempt to ‘manage’ public opinion).

    Craig’s writing is much more humble (in general), satirical, incisive and nuanced. A potent combincation.

  • nobody

    Jess says that people are ignorant on the subject of liquid bombs? He is absolutely right and may include himself in that statement.

    There is no such thing as a liquid bomb – never has been, never will be. It’s a myth from Hollywood.

    But don’t take my word for it, have a read and see if ‘complete and utter bullshit’ isn’t the most accurate description of the whole caper –


    Meanwhile the War On Bottles Of Shampoo continues unabated.

    PS And Craig, what terrorism would you be prepared to label as real? Whilst I’m happy to concede the possibility of such a thing, so much of what we’re told is terror is fake, that I have trouble telling. I reckon for every ‘real’ terrorist plot you care to mention I could find you a half dozen that are as genuine as a two bob watch. Oh, and plots that involve government agents procuring weapons, assembling them, and explaining how to use them don’t count.

    PPS And anyone who wants to mention the 7th of July bombings may only do so after they ring Peter Power of Visor Consulting and ask him if the exercise he was running that day, that precisely targeted the train stations in question and employed a thousand people, didn’t also include four people to play the part of terrorists.

  • nextus

    Oops. I meant to say Chuck’s ‘a bit of a (vainglorious) peacock’, not that he’s ‘a bit of peacock’ – though I guess you could say that as well. Which bit? I’ll give you a clue – it’s not the pea.

  • Vronsky

    I sometimes wonder if I might be responsible for War on Bottles of Shampoo. After getting a particularly irksome time from security at an airport, I was subsequently surprised when they allowed me to walk on to the plane carrying a bottle of water. It was one of those bottles with a nozzle, so that you can squeeze a jet of liquid from it. I could think of other commonly available liquids that I could have put in the bottle to make a simple weapon. I wrote to the airline and pointed this out. It was just after that that they banned all bottles and liquids. Sorry, everyone!

  • craig


    Thanks for that. My serious criticism of Charles is his overriding concern with procedure over substance. He managed to write a nine part review of Murder in Samarkand without mentioning torture, or the issue of British complicity in it!

    He doesn’t seem in the least concerned with whether there really is a terror plot in Manchester.

    As a person he’s actually very pleasant and good company. Much funnnier in the flesh than in writing.

  • Peter Owen

    I like the bit where you say terrorsim does exist.

    I’m sure the people who lost loved ones in 9/11, 7/7 the bali and madrid bombings etc can verify this for you.

    If these people are found guilty, will you be as quick to write an article praising the police for saving lives?

    I very much doubt it

  • Gorgonzola

    With pompous people such as Charles in senior positions of the Establishment, it is no wonder that this country is a laughing stock of the world.

    I came looking on the internet this morning for an alternative version of events on this news “story” as I was getting a bit tired of it still being dragged out on News24 when not even a “bomb factory” had been found.

    As for the “leaked” document, I noted from the images released of Bob leaving the range rover, that the typeface was very much larger than that normally used in A4 documents. This seems odd. Also even if he had forgot to put the document in a folder, surely for a “Secret” document it would have at the very least had a stapled on front page. Maybe Craig can enlighten us as to the document house styles inside our highly professional government and police forces.

    My own view is that Bob is damaged goods and was going to retire from the Met soon anyway. Maybe he didn’t get on with Boris? What’s the betting he will land up in some high paid consultancy role soon? Is Peter Power recruiting at the moment?

  • Jess

    “Jess says that people are ignorant on the subject of liquid bombs? He is absolutely right and may include himself in that statement. There is no such thing as a liquid bomb – never has been, never will be. It’s a myth from Hollywood.”

    Such ignorance. Using the ingredience that they found in the burried suitcase in the works, the jury were giving a demonstration of how the liquid bombs work – video of it exploding. Panorama showed this on their special about it.

    It’s amazing that people will just read someone on a website and take that as fact, even though they haven’t seen anything about the case. Frightening.

    Craig, you should be away of what type of people you are attracting on this site.

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