There was news this week of a couple of people in court over alleged terrorist offences. Police found dangerous items like a DVD and, and this is really scary, some bits of paper. Yes, it's true, bits of paper with, omg, words written on them. Run for the hills...
I don't know much about this case, but it looks like these guys might genuinely have been planning attacks.* If so, you've got to wonder why the police didn't just keep a very close eye on them and then arrest them once they'd aquired (at least some of) the materials for their bomb recipe. DVD's and bits of paper don't really sound that convincing. Half a ton of fertiliser in a bedsit with no garden (or whatever it is they'd need to build bombs) would be a different matter.
Were the police under pressure to provide arrests at a politically expediant moment? They were apparently arrested on October 21st. That's pretty much perfectly timed if someone was looking for the court preceedings to coincide with the anti-terror bill debate. It could be a coincidence. It could also be that the government has put the successful prosecution of these men at risk by pressurising the police to move more quickly than they might have prefered. Speculation, but the government definitely has the "form" for such behaviour.
The Scotsman provides a little more detail on the exact timing.
The arrests and charges come as the government faces a back-bench rebellion over its plans to detain terrorism suspects for 90 days. Yesterday, it emerged that the men were arrested by anti-terrorist police last month and had been held at Paddington Green police station for two weeks. Details of the allegations against the men were revealed when they appeared at Bow Street magistrates court in London yesterday."Yesterday" in this case refers to Friday the 4th. So that'll be two days after the aborted vote in the House of Commons. Curious. *Strokes white fluffy cat ponderously*
The Mirror is tabloitastic in its coverage.
TWO men who allegedly plotted to set off a massive car bomb in central London appeared in court charged with terrorism offences yesterday. Special Branch officers believe Waseem Mughal and Younis Tsouli, both 22, were planning to detonate a vehicle packed with explosives before killing themselves in suicide bombings in crowded shopping centres or on a train or bus.A massive car bomb? Packed with explosives? Oh mummy, that's pretty scary. The Mirror then very thoughtfully provides a run down of the charges against the men. Possession of... DVD's and bits of paper. No possession of explosive materials then? I'm presuming that if there were charges relating to explosives we'd have heard about them. I only ask because I'm pretty certain that even the most fanatical terrorist needs explosives to blow stuff up. It wouldn't surprise me if the maniacs had experimented with harnessing the sheer power of God to blow stuff up but I think its reasonably safe to assume that there've been no significant breakthroughs in that area that we're unaware off.
Still, the obligatory anonymous police opinion pulls no punches:
A senior Scotland Yard source said: "We are convinced that if we had not acted swiftly a massive bomb, designed to kill and maim hundreds of innocent people, would have been set off in London, probably before the end of the year and possibly during the Christmas rush." [my emphasis]A senior Big Stick source said: "We are convinced that the use of the words "kill and maim hundreds of innocent people" was designed to create the largest possible impact on the innocent people of this country, probably mainly in London, as they start thinking about the Christmas rush".
Stop trying to scare people, you fucking arseholes. Warn us of possible risks, yes by all means, but the hysterical language designed to twist emotion and create and manipulate fear? Fuck right off. "Maim"? Who at Scotland Yard uses "maim"? I'll tell you who, no-one that's who. Injure, yes, they'd certainly use injure, but "maim"? Fuck off.
And swiftly? Why, where are the explosives? This isn't rocket science: Explosives + Terrorists = Explosions. If the police don't know then its hard to see how they can claim that an attack is imminent. If the police do know then why haven't the suspects been charged with explosives offences? Or was there some other reason for the police to act "swiftly". Hmm. *Strokes chin ponderously*
What conclusions can be drawn from all this? Not many I suspect. We can definitely say that I don't trust this government to tie its own shoelaces without lying about how and why they did it. That's not really news though. Was a legitimate police investigation forced to act before it was ready in order to provide a suitable backdrop for the PMs anti-terror legislation? Stranger things have happened. All I'll say on this occassion is that it would appear to be a possibility.
* Allegedly. I absolutely do not wish to prejudice a fair trial M'lud.