Thursday, August 17, 2006

The imagined airline bombings

Craig Murray writes from the U.K. about the obvious charade of the massive new terror plot that Bush and Blair hoped would salvage some of their delusional paranoia while Israel's effort to draw Iran into war so quickly turned into a predictable disaster.
None of the alleged terrorists had made a bomb. None had bought a plane ticket. Many did not even have passports, which given the efficiency of the UK Passport Agency would mean they couldn't be a plane bomber for quite some time.

In the absence of bombs and airline tickets, and in many cases passports, it could be pretty difficult to convince a jury beyond reasonable doubt that individuals intended to go through with suicide bombings, whatever rash stuff they may have bragged in internet chat rooms.

What is more, many of those arrested had been under surveillance for over a year -- like thousands of other British Muslims. ... Nothing from that surveillance had indicated the need for early arrests. ... As they were all under surveillance, and certainly would have been on airport watch lists, there could have been little danger in letting them proceed closer to maturity. ...

Then an interrogation in Pakistan revealed the details of this amazing plot to blow up multiple planes -- which, rather extraordinarily, had not turned up in a year of surveillance. Of course, the interrogators of the Pakistani dictator have their ways of making people sing like canaries. As I witnessed in Uzbekistan, you can get the most extraordinary information this way. Trouble is it always tends to give the interrogators all they might want, and more, in a desperate effort to stop or avert torture. What it doesn't give is the truth. ...

We then have the extraordinary question of Bush and Blair discussing the possible arrests over the weekend. Why? I think the answer to that is plain. Both in desperate domestic political trouble, they longed for "Another 9/11". The intelligence from Pakistan, however dodgy, gave them a new 9/11 they could sell to the media. The media has bought, wholesale, all the rubbish they have been shoveled. ...

In all of this, the one thing of which I am certain is that the timing is deeply political. This is more propaganda than plot. Of the over one thousand British Muslims arrested under anti-terrorist legislation, only twelve per cent are ever charged with anything. ... Of those charged, 80% are acquitted. Most of the very few -- just over two per cent of arrests -- who are convicted, are not convicted of anything to do with terrorism, but of some minor offence the police happened upon while trawling through the wreckage of the lives they had shattered.