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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  • arsalan

    As expected the Liberal Dems are just a change of face.

    Their mouths produce the same shit as NeoLabour, they are just a different bunch of arseholes.

    Maybe this alliance of the Conservatives has its good points?

    If Muslims get arrested for having a bag of sugar in their kitchen it might cause Muslims to stop buying Sugar?

    Diabetes is very high amongst the Indo/Pak community.

    Maybe this will go in some way to reduce it?

    Even though the bum plans are bollocks they might just save a few lives with this sugar ban? but unfortunately for them, the lives saved will be Muslim lives.

    They plot, they plan, Allah too plans, and Allah is the best of Planners.

    Cut down on Sugar everybody!

  • Andy

    Excellent post.

    Meanwhile celebrity blogger Iain Dale goes with –

    “What about our human right not to be blown up?”

  • Owen Lee Hugh-Mann

    I’m reminded of the case of an antiques dealer who was arrested as part of an anti-cocaine trafficking operation. They’d been tapping the phones of the chief suspect and so had recorded the dealer saying something along the lines of, “The stuff you ordered is ready for collection.” He was released without charge after a couple of days of very unpleasant interrogation. This happened abroad – in the UK his fingerprints would have been kept on record despite his innocence. Imagine if he had been kept in the dark as to what the “evidence” against him was and so could not have provided a convincing explanation.

  • JohnM

    It’s good that we have a coalition deal and a part to play in power, but we’re not mutes!

    The Beeb analyses was juvenile this evening, basically highlighting degrees of toughness/weakness in the coalition against an almost tabloid headlining of ‘terrorist gets off to walk amongst us’.

    We should leap at the chance to challenge hypocrisy and to test out Tory commitment to freedom.

  • Steve C

    It’s very clever the way they do this. I heard this on the Radio 1 news today ( i don’t control what we listen to). They announce that the Al-ciaduh terrorists aren’t being deported because they may be tortured. Then whilst the sheep are bleating loudly to each other about PC gone mad,they quickly explain that there wasn’t really any evidence and there were no charges brought.

    I’ve enjoyed lecturing 20 or so people about this today, and it was so blatent that most of them admitted that maybe i’m not so paranoid after all.

    They did the same thing with the Tory announcement that they’re cancelling the ID cards, sorry, what ID cards.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Good post, Craig.

    Here’s one for the Boys (Own): “We’re going to seven weddings in Inverness and then to five more in Wick, three in Eastbourne and seven hundred in Truro. Oh – and the metal plate stuff you needed is ready for collection”.

    The Rev. J. Hadley

  • Egbert

    Focus on the real terrorists – the economic terrorists who threaten to blow up what’s left of the economic system. The small firecracker around the time of the Greek panic is just an indicator, saying do as we say or we take the system down.

  • Owen Lee Hugh-Mann

    The fact that electronic interception is not admissable evidence in court seems to be because the security services don’t want the extent of their all-pervasive surveillance capabilities to be widely known. The evidence in this particular case may be weak, but I don’t think that’s the reason it is withheld in normal circumstances. The initial arrests were carried out prematurely, thanks to Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick accidentally revealing the operation by openly carrying the relevant papers when he entered 10 Downing Street in front of the assembled press photographers. Brown had arranged this publicity stunt to boost his popularity and anti-terrorist credentials. Having been exposed, the operation had to be rushed, severely limiting the quantity and quality of the evidence which could be obtained. If these people are dangerous, we have Gordon Brown and Bob Quick to thank for their presence on our streets still.

  • Mr M

    They sound the same because the same people who read words into J Smith’s ears are still in the same place. The price of not having initiatives is their stupidity.

  • Parky

    …it was also suggested that Mr Quick intentionally let the plans be seen and there was a photographer ready to snap the pages which if i remember correctly were of a very large font type. Mr Quick was about to retire anyway so there was no great loss there.

    For all the money and human resources spent on it by UK govt it has to be asked do we get value for money from our so-called intelligence services especially when dealing with “plots”? Surely these outlaws have cracked on to the idea by now not to discuss their plans over an electronic media? I suggest most of the spying is more to do with industrial espionage and gaining ecconmic advantage.

  • glenn

    Great post, Craig. I notice they said on the news this guy will be put on a “Control Order.” Like ASBOs, this seems a marvelous way to punish someone indefinitely on a arbitrary basis despite having been convicted of no crime at all.

    Of course, failing to follow the Control Order / ASBO _is_ a crime, for which such a person will be locked up. The more onerous the C.O., the better the chance that they’ll break it, go mad, or best of all leave the country.

  • Clark

    Sorry – the Special Immigration Appeals Commission’s interpretation of those e-mails – their juxtaposition of conversations about dating with bomb making – is just so surreal, I can’t stop thinking of Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon, especially these naughty Rocket Limericks:

    (NB LOX = liquid oxygen – very cold)

  • Terence

    Reflections on the saintly Vince:

    “Cable joined Shell in 1990; he was appointed chief economist in 1995, the same year as the writer Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other leaders of the southern Nigerian Ogoni ethnic group were executed by the Sani Abacha military government. This was after a wave of state-sponsored violence in the south. In May, campaigners accused Shell before a court in New York of complicity in the violence in order to protect its oil interests. The following month, in an out-of-court settlement, Shell agreed to pay the victims’ families $15.5m, but refused to accept legal responsibility for the nine deaths.

    So has Cable ever spoken out against the firm? The journalist Mark Lynas, who interviewed Cable when he worked at Shell, remembers him as being deeply evasive and avoiding all questions about Saro-Wiwa. Lynas is astonished at Cable’s transformation into Britain’s favourite politician. “I don’t know how anyone could have stayed at Shell during that period and slept at night,” he told me. “Because of Shell, I’ve always questioned his judgement on human rights.”

    Campaigners in Britain and in Nigeria are outraged. “For a former high-ranking Shell official to parade himself as a progressive liberal smacks of rank opportunism and cynicism,” Sanya Osha, author of a book on Ken Saro-Wiwa and Ogoniland, told me. “One can’t take such a volte-face seriously.” But perhaps he had no idea of what was going on in Shell’s Nigerian operation? Osha disagrees. “I think it is inconceivable that a chief economist at Shell would be unaware of the activities of the [Nigerian] military regime in relation to the plight of the Ogoni people.” Ben Amunwa of the Remember Saro-Wiwa project agrees: “I find it hard to believe that senior Shell staff were free of responsibility for what happened in Nigeria.””

  • Terence

    “The Orange Book: Reclaiming Liberalism (ISBN 1-86197-797-2) is a book written by a group of prominent British Liberal Democrat politicians and edited by David Laws and Paul Marshall in 2004. Beside Laws and Marshall, the contributors include Vincent Cable, Nick Clegg, Edward Davey, Chris Huhne, Susan Kramer, Mark Oaten and Steve Webb. The book was published in association with the liberal think-tank CentreForum.

    In the book the group offers liberal solutions ?” often stressing the role of the free market ?” to several societal issues, such as public healthcare, pensions, environment, globalisation, social and agricultural policy, local government, the European Union and prisons. It is usually seen as the most economic liberal publication that the Liberal Democrats have produced in recent times. Such, along with its impact upon the party, it has helped cause the dividing line within the party: those who advocate a social market economy observing social liberal values such as the Beveridge Group and those (such as authors, contributors and supporters of the Orange Book) who advocate a free market economy.

    The book stirred debate on the policy of the Liberal Democrats.”

    Notice that all of these who still held seats are now in government with the Tories.

    This is quite simply a coalition between the right wing of the Lib Dems and the Tories with every other view excluded.

    Makes you wonder why these right wing Lib Dems didn’t just join the Tories in the first place, rather than hijack another party.

    Of course Tony Blair did that too, and that all ended in tears.

  • glenn


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

    Any other damned fool going to tell us how it’s about to be capped any minute now, so there’s nothing to really worry about? Or dismiss preposterous notions of cubic miles of dense oil plumes, and how that can be just waved away, dismissing them as 99.99% water ?

    And how BP is claiming to have it licked, because up to 2,000 barrels a day are being “syphoned” off now. That’s out of their own “estimate” of 5,000 barrels a day. From 140,000PSI pressure. With a 5″ diameter pipe. That’s a supposed 4 gallons/second, whereas a fire hydrant can deliver more than that. This “spill” is more like an on-going 3-4 million gallon/day event, at a conservative estimate.

    Let’s just hope that very strained and blasted (by sand particles, moving very quickly) pipe, which is kinked and crimped just by happy accident! – doesn’t collapse. Let’s very much hope the drill-channel it’s sitting in doesn’t start to break up.

    I’m sort of concerned that this is going to wind up in the Gulf currents, which will kill Florida beaches in maybe three weeks, and us a few months later. Sort of thing that might bother anyone near a coast, and anyone interested in life in the oceans.

    Reassure me please, because I’m really, _really_ concerned about this.

    * Sorry for the off-topic post. But we’re not taking this seriously enough.

  • Yoni

    Anyone who still uses the utterly stupid term ‘Islamophobia’ is, well, utterly stupid.

  • patches53

    Although in your blog you talk of a communication intercept.

    This was between him and an Al Quieda operative in Pakistan.

  • anno

    So, in effect, it was the endless repetition of the same old lies that made the British public reject new Labour. Fresh lies from fresh faces is fine. It doesn’t say much for British Ambassador to Pakistan, Adam Thomson, and old friend of mine, that the UK is trying to export the same lie they serve up to us morons, to the Pakistani security services. An Ambassador doesn’t have a brain of his own until he becomes an ex-Ambassador?

    Does the Pakistan government have to be seen to be playing the same Star Chamber line? The Uk released the detainees that came from Guantanamo. Would not Pakistan do the same for its returned citizens who had been framed by the same War on Terror mentality? It’s becoming increasingly obvious that the UK Government and its FCO, and all the other nations’ Governments and FCO equivalents are under the iron control of another Global Force, that overrides all common-sense, logic or decency.

    It’s becoming increasingly obvious that the whole lot are being blackmailed by the banking industry into the counter-intuitive War on Terror idea, which is in fact a war on Islam. I have heard two new initiatives put forward by this new government, 1/ a Green initiative to drive forward ecological ideas 2/ a Social, ‘ Big Government ‘ initiative to reverse Socialist ideas. The solution to these two problems was the same, viz. to set up a bank to lend money for these two initiatives.

    In other words the solution is more Usury. When Mrs T. first mooted the idea of handing over power to the banks in the 1970s, I thought it was a very bad idea. The recession we are in now, is proof that it was a catastrophic disaster. How come the only solutions we are being offered are more of the same catastrophic disaster ideas? And how come the anti-Islamic agenda of the new government is more of the slandering of Islam, to be followed shortly by further aggressive wars?

  • anno


    Which dustbin did you rifle that piece of garbage from about ‘ an Al-Quaida operative in Pakistan ‘? Yesterday I was at the SAS Army base in Hereford to meet a friend. The police checked me and my vehicle out and found everything fine.

    But when it comes to Pakistan, the same police check everything out and tell you that that the friend is an enemy operative.

    Incrimination by Star Chamber, is supposed to be part of a new deal for the UK, in which threats to our civil liberties imposed by nasty New Labour are thrown out by popular demand. Well, let’s start by removing the racist bigotry of Gordon Brown that 90% of ‘terrorist’ threats to this country come from Pakistan.

  • anno

    The New Labour spin machine, which manufactured the ‘very big terror plot’ and manufactured the expose by Quick in Downing Street, also manufactured the presence of well-connected Muslim students

    in the UK and media coverage of heavy-handed policing.

    This is not just false-flagging, but false back-drop, false filming, false framing, false fears about what Pakistan would do to these men, false witness, false media reaction, and if the truth were told, false taking offence by Craig. The strategy of the establishment is to confuse everybody so that the job of destroying Islam and stealing their wealth and property can continue unchallenged by the decent citizens of the UK.

  • wendy

    “Well, let’s start by removing the racist bigotry of Gordon Brown that 90% of ‘terrorist’ threats to this country come from Pakistan.”

    that was more than racist bigotry , that was building the case to act against pakistan – so that the uk-usa could send in their war machine .. overtly rather than covertly as present.

    maybe once iran has been ‘dealt’ with.

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