First Islamophobic Terror Scare under the Coalition 49

We have the first fake terror scare since the election – and Theresa May has jumped in on the authoritarian side.

The BBC states that:

The alleged leader of an al-Qaeda plot to bomb targets in north-west England has won his appeal against deportation.

A special immigration court said Abid Naseer was an al-Qaeda operative – but could not be deported because he faced torture or death back home in Pakistan

Note the alleged. The truth is that there is no evidence to convict Abid Nasser of anything. What they have is intelligence reports from Pakistan, certainly obtained under torture, and a communications intercept in which Abid Naseer talked of a wedding. As Sky News has been explaining all evening, the security services believe “wedding” is a code for a bombing.

On May 24, 2007 I blogged this:

Finally, a thought on communications intercepts. The government remain deeply opposed to the use of these in court. I am in favour. If surveillance has been properly and legally carried out, it should be admissible. The truth of the matter is that the Government does not want revealed how weak its so-called intelligence often is.

I can give one example. According to the US intercept agency the NSA, Al-Qaida frequently use the word “Wedding” as code for a suicide bombing. I recall as Ambassador being deluged with intercepts of “suspicious” conversations like “We’re going to a wedding in Bokhara.” Of such flimsy stuff is most of the material. If they keep it from court scrutiny, they can persuade natural authoritarian brown-nosers like Michael White to publish that it is “Solid”.

What is happening now is precisely the same circumstance I blogged about then. An innocent man is branded a terrorist by the security services, with no evidence that can be put before a jury. The media all then repeat it to ramp up the fear factor.

You may recall that in the current case, Gordon Brown had stated this was “a very big terror plot”. But the students arrested had no bombs, no weapons and possessed nothing at all connecting them to terrorism. The police announced they had found “a potential component of a bomb”. It turned out that this was less than a quarter of a kilo of sugar in the kitchen.

What is a disgrace is the “Special Immigration Tribunal” which decided not to deport Abid Nasser, but to brand him a terrorist. These tribunals are an affront to every principle of justice. The security services presented evidence against Abid Nasser in secret. Meither Nasser nor his lawyer was allowed to see the evidence against him. It is on the basis of this secret evidence – to which Nasser had no opportunity to make a reply – that Mr Justice Mitting stated that he was satisfied Nasser was an al-Qaida operative.

Mr Justice Mitting is a complete disgrace to the British judiciary. That he should make such a pronouncement on a man who was not allowed to defend himself shows that he has no place on any bench.

The fact that no criminal prosecution has been brought against Nasser, because of insufficient evidence, underlines the fact that Mitting is a reactionary well suited to his role in a court with as much connection to justice as the Committee of Public Safety.

My good friend and old boss Sir Brian Barder by no means shares my liberal views. He supports, for example, the FCO line that it is right to accept intelligence gained from torture by friendly security services, if it helps combat terrorism. But Brian resigned as a judge from the special immigration tribunal precisely because he believed it was completely unacceptable that they heard evidence which the accused were not allowed to answer. The truth is that only extreme reactionaries like Mr Justice Mitting, people with no concern at all for natural justice, could consent to take part in ths farcical kangaroo court.

Theresa May, our new Home Secretary has been very happy to jump on the Islamophobic bandwagon. Lib Dems should point out that the real lesson of this case is the need to abolish the star chamber secret Special Immigration Appeal Courts, which should have no place in any democracy.

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49 thoughts on “First Islamophobic Terror Scare under the Coalition

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  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    Pervez Musharraf is protected in a London flat (round the corner from Blair’s house)by a detail from Scotland yard – paid by the British tax-payer to the tune of £25,000/day!

    Musharraf knows too much (cough) so the security services are frightened he might be captured and interrogated (tortured) to reveal highly sensitive information.

  • Owen Lee Hugh-Mann

    Slightly off-topic… anyone still laughing about my post earlier this month, about just how bad this “spill” in the gulf actually is?

    Continuing off-topic, I was watching a documentary series on BBC 4 entitled “Crude Britannia”, about the North Sea oil fields. A representative of Brown and Roots said that the cost of a rig in the North Sea field was at least 5 times that of one in the Gulf of Mexico because there was so little warning of impending storms, whereas in the Gulf they had about 2 days to get everyone off. This meant the North Sea rigs had to be built to withstand hurricanes but they could “afford to lose a couple of rigs each time” in the Gulf so long as the crews were evacuated. They build the Gulf rigs more cheaply, knowing that some are likely to be capsized and sunk each time there’s a hurricane and rely on the safety cut off valve working to prevent an oil spill. It seems it was only a matter of time therefore before a safety cut off valve failure resulted in a massive environmental disaster. Having their liability capped by federal law meant they saved a fortune on insurance costs and were less concerned about preventing an oil spill. As per usual, when the rich and powerful screw up, their laws mean its us less well off who have to pay for their negligence and dangerous cost cutting.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned the US and EU against imposing unilateral sanctions against Iran over its nuclear work.

    In a Wednesday telephone conversation, Lavrov discussed the Iranian nuclear work with his American counterpart Hillary Clinton, Ria Novosti reported.

    Lavrov “expressed concern over coming reports about the intentions of the US and the European Union to go beyond a collective Security Council position on Iran and to impose unilateral sanctions.

    Meanwhile in Afghanistan the CIA and and Xi type groups continue to recruit some Taliban factions they intend to use to promote terrorism and radicalism.

    Such attempts are intended to produce instability in the region as a prelude to a strike on Iran, complicated by Pakistan’s nuclear capability.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Who knows who killed Benazir Bhutto? The most likely culprits are a segment of the ISI-military hierarchy – the people BB thought would kill her – she named them shortly before her death. I do not think the Taliban did it. They usually brag about killings, even if they didn’t commit them. The Musharraf regime bears some responsibility because of the relative lack of security provided to her. I do not think that Musharraf ordered her killing; Musharraf has lost a considerable amount of power by then; but as with the state, the Mafia and magistrates and police in Italy, leaving someone exposed can be tantamount to a message saying, “Who will rid me of this turbulent…”

    The ISI, of course, is Pakistan’s very own state Mafia.

  • LibertyPhile

    Those emails between Nasser and Pakistan on the BBC site are worth a look.

    What about the girls he was discussing? Has he got their phone numbers, their addresses.

    And what about the future mother-in-law! Is she upset that the wedding didn’t happen? Where was the wedding going to take place, who was going to officiate? Do you have to book in advance?

    He says this in an email on April 3rd no more than 17 days before the wedding “I met with Nadia family and we both parties have agreed to conduct the Nikkah after 15th and before 20th of this month. I have confirmed the dates from them and they said you should be ready between these dates.”

    Why is he discussing all this with someone in Pakistan?

    The whole thing stinks, and I don’t think the smell is coming from the security services.

  • Bert


    It is the _alleged_ evidence that the SIAC say cannot be aired in court proving, or not, the contention that this man is a leader of an al-Qaeda plot… that smells a bit fishy!

    Why do you think that Control Orders are used? Because the normal court process won’t work, as there is far too much fishiness around the cases of control order detainess. Fishiness that the securtity services etc. do not want aired…., because they are swimming amongst it all….

  • Clark


    you are right, and I should have read the e-mails more carefully. It is still wrong for these cases to be dealt with in such secrecy. That stink will remain until we open the windows.

  • TheA1mighty


    Maybe more of the details of the planned wedding were discussed in other e-mails which we are not party to.

    But yes the fragments served up do look fishy, but are they in context ?

    Are they even the original e-mail texts, or a poor translators version of them ?

  • anno

    Who in their right mind would use a code which is well known to the entire world’s intelligence services. Of course these are fishy emails, they are fabrications of the intelligence services. That’s their job, to prepare the ordinary man in the street for State Terror on a big scale, by presenting comic strip emails to the biassed media as Muslim terror threats.

    Can we get on with smashing up a few industrial complexes in Iran, now that we’ve finished the election? Mr Obama is a busy man with a big list of countries to knock the shit out of, including most of the rest of the world. Can the Coalition please coalesce into a little gentle killing, or as Cameron would see it, get bloodied with its first fox-tail?

  • Authoritarian, yes

    But how is this ‘Islamophobic’? Is there any evidence (apart from your own assumptions) that this authoritarian approach is related to the men’s faith?

  • LibertyPhile

    The other explanation is, of course, that Nasser is an unlucky fantasist. The opinions he was expressing on those girls don’t come in just a date or two. Where are those girls? Where are the ex-prospective in-laws?

    Has Naseer or his lawyers claimed that the emails are fabrications?

  • Clark


    appropriate questions from you and TheA1mighty – to which we have no answers, because of the secrecy.

    “Not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done”.

  • LibertyPhile

    I recommend all those with a genuine interest to look at Bert’s link.

    It gives a complete run down on the emails (on Yahoo, so they too are party to the plot!).

    Naseer doesn’t deny they are his emails. His explanations are totally implausible, laughable even.

    Justice has half been done!

  • Clark


    I’ve read half of the page; so far, I do not share your confidence. It may be a while before I’ve read the whole thing more carefully.

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