Veni, Vidi, Veritas

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Terrorist Follies: Part One (The UK)

For some reason, when it comes to jihadist-inspired terrorism, Western authorities lose all common sense and react in a blind panic. This is the only comical thing to come out of terrorism -- if there were no deaths, injuries or damages, watching the security forces of the US, the UK and Canada respond to alleged terrorist plots would be like watching old black and white comedies like "The Keystone Cops". Unfortunately, real people get hurt by real terrorists, so you would think that the authorities would treat the fight against terrorism with the seriousness that it deserves, but no, they act like children on a sugar-rush running around, scared by the invisible monster under their bed.

As reported in a series of articles in the British newspaper, The Guardian, a perfect example of this is the "Forest Gate Terror Raid" that took place last week, June 2nd, in the UK. During this raid, British police were responding to a "tip" that a pair of terrorist brothers were building a "poison vest" to attack the people of England with (it seems that ever since the "shoe bomber", people think that Q of James Bond fame is working with Osama Bin Laden in a secret cave, concocting all sorts of bizarre terrorist bombs).

As the The Guardian reported on June 3:
The raid on an east London house in which police shot a man yesterday was carried out because intelligence suggested that a viable chemical or biological weapon could be inside, according to counter-terrorism sources.

More than 250 officers swooped on the house in the early hours, after a two-month surveillance operation led by MI5. Security sources say the timing of the raid was dictated by fears that an attack on a British target using an unconventional weapon could be staged soon. The shot man and a man believed to be his brother were arrested under the Terrorism Act.

True to form, the police didn't find any evidence of terror despite their lengthy two month investigation. Again, as reported by The Guardian on June 5th:
Counter-terrorism officials conceded yesterday that lethal chemical devices they feared had been stored at an east London house raided on Friday may never have existed.

To make matters worse, police conduct during the raid (shooting a man without warning, needlessly roughing up innocent bystanders) was unnecessarily violent and may lead to legal action against the British government:

Yesterday a family detained by police during the raid also denied any involvement in terrorism activity and said it was considering legal action. In a statement, the family, who lived in the terrace adjoining the brothers' house, said they 'would like to make it clear that we are completely innocent and in no way involved in any terrorist activity'.

The family, reportedly four adults and an eight-month-old child, said that police had questioned them for 12 hours before releasing them without charge on Friday afternoon. They added in a statement: 'We would like to express our deep shock and anger at the operation that took place. My family members and I were physically assaulted. I received serious head injuries that required hospital treatment. We are liaising with our legal team on the course of action to take.'

And in fact, the shoddy police work and overly aggressive detainment of the suspects and of the innocent bystanders, not to mention the 250 police rampaging through the neighbourhood, have managed to strain relations between the police and the Muslim community in the UK:
The leader of Britain's biggest Muslim organisation today warned that the east London terror raid could severely damage the relationship between the Muslim community and the police.

Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, urged police to give "clear details" about the raid on a house in Forest Gate in the early hours of Friday morning.


Dr Bari, who visited residents and businesses in Forest Gate yesterday, said the community was angry, confused and frustrated about what had happened.

"People want to know what exactly happened and about the intelligence - is it genuine information, is it flawed? These are the questions police have to answer as soon as possible," he said.

Dr Bari said trust between the community and the police could break down if the questions were not answered.

Clearly, the whole thing was a disaster from start to finish. No terrorists were captured, millions of pounds of the budget for anti-terror activities were lost, tensions between the Muslim community and the police have escalated, and people were needlessly frightened by the police beating their chests about another deadly terror plot that could kill hundreds, if not thousands. All of this could have been avoided by more careful investigation, better vetting of the "intelligence" that led to the raid, and a more restrained approach to the police entry into the suspects' home and the detainment of the suspects.

Given the total failure of the raid, one would think that the British government would reassess its anti-terror policies to ensure that mistakes such as this are minimized, but no, British Prime Minister Tony Blair went out of his way to defend the police and their response. Again, as detailed by The Guardian:
Tony Blair yesterday defended the police decision to raid an east London house after receiving intelligence that a chemical device might be stored there for use in a terrorist attack.

In an interview, the prime minister discounted talk of a backlash among Muslims after the raid by 250 officers found no device and led to a man being shot.

As George Santayana said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it". Maybe Tony Blair, George Bush and Stephen Harper should start taking some vitamin pills to improve their short-term memories before things get any worse.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Toronto Terror Plot: Something Stinks

Something is not right about the alleged terrorist bomb plot (as described here in the Toronto Star) uncovered by the police this weekend. At first, like most other Canadians, I was stunned to learn that "homegrown" terrorists, people who were born and grew up in Canada, were plotting to kill and destroy us and our institutions.

After watching the story unfold on the CBC, and reading about it in the newspapers, its increasingly obvious that these men were victims of a police setup. Why? There are seven good reasons:

1) The plot is disrupted one week before authorities go before the Supreme Court seeking to thwart a constitutional challenge to Canada's terror laws which allow them to indefinitely detain terrorist suspects without charge. Obviously, busting a major "homegrown" terror plot a week before the hearings would bolster their case.

2) The police have only scant evidence against the alleged plotters. One handgun (which may in fact be legally registered), some duct tape, a cellphone, a voltometer, and other electronic bric-a-brac. They didn't even have physical evidence of the ammonium nitrate fertilizer which was to be used for making the alleged terrorist bombs. Instead the police resorted to a bag of fertilizer they said was for display purposes only and not part of the evidence. One handgun for seventeen suspects? Duct tape? Items you can find in any Canadian home? Not exactly strong evidence of terrorism. You can view the evidence pictures in the photo gallery, at the Globe and Mail web site.

3) The police didn't have any evidence of the alleged terrorist targets. Simply put, they expect us to believe that terrorists were ready to strike but didn't have any targets in mind yet. I guess the terrorists were going to wing it and decide what to attack when they were driving their terror trucks into town.

4) There were documents or terrorist literature seized. No bomb making manuals, no combat guides, no al-Qaeda manifestos, no hardline Islamic propoganda, no plans, no nothing. This goes against the evidence seized in every other terror plot on Earth.
CBS news reported on the July 7, 2005 subway bombing in London:
"police in Leeds raided a shop selling Islamic books and DVDs just blocks from where at least two of the four suicide bombers lived, and they seized materials."

5) The structure of the group (seventeen adults and youths) does not correspond to the "cell" structure espoused by al-Qaeda. As the BBC reported as far back as 2002:

"But as we know from experience, [al-Qaeda's] cell structure is usually tightly organised with minimum communication between chief organiser and bomber.

For example, the person who is arrested for supplying false documents or a stolen car, often does not know who he was passing them onto or for what purpose.

The foot soldiers are kept well away from each other to avoid the risk of the top man being identified if one of them is caught. "

In order to avoid leaks and detection, al-Qaeda tells its wannabe terrorists to keep cells small, between 3-4 people, and to keep communications between the cells to a minimum as descibed by the BBC. So if these alleged terrorists in Canada were reading al-Qaeda websites and following al-Qaeda, they wouldn't have a large group of seventeen people, including five teenagers, in on the plot. It makes no sense whatsoever.

6) Our security forces' record of capturing alleged terrorists is very poor. We already arrested nineteen Pakistani men staying in Canada as "terrorists" in 2003 and had to drop all charges due to lack of evidence. You can read the CBC report here.

7) Police entrapment? You can read about it in my comment below.

Toronto Bomb Plot: Terrorists or Government Set-up?

Well, well, well, the truth is slowly starting to dribble out concerning the alleged terror plot against Ontario. Initially, most media outlets such as in "Terror Suspects Appear In Court" reported that police had broken up a plot by Muslim terrorists to launch truck bombs made with three tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertilizer against targets in Southern Ontario. The police and Canadian security authorities kept details and evidence to a bare minimum, and now we know why: the whole thing is looking more and more like police set-up and entrapment.

The Toronto Star is now reporting that undercover police operatives sold the alleged terrorists the three tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertilizer to be used to make the bombs. Initially, as reported by the CBC, police denied any involvement in the scheme. According to the Star:

Sources say investigators who had learned of the group's alleged plan to build a bomb were controlling the sale and transport of the massive amount of fertilizer, a key component in creating explosives. Once the deal was done, the RCMP-led anti-terrorism task force moved in for the arrests.

The obvious question is how much influence did police have in the alleged purchase of the ammonium nitrate? Did the police encourage the men to purchase the material and in fact encourage and abet the "terrorist plot"? Were police bribes involved? Did the alleged terrorists in fact agree to the purchase, or were they misled into thinking they were purchasing something else? Reporters should be asking these questions instead of laying down for the police as the US media did for George Bush during the question of Iraqi WMDs.