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  • New details in airline plot

    by Sunny
    30th August, 2006 at 12:30 am    

    The Guardian is reporting that a New York Times article with new details from the recent plot to blow up airlines is not visible to British web users because of legal issues. See here.

    So I did the obvious thing and used an anonymiser to get the article.

    Some interesting points are emphasised below.


    LONDON, Aug. 27 — On Aug. 9, in a small second-floor apartment in East London, two young Muslim men recorded a video justifying what the police say was their suicide plot to blow up trans-Atlantic planes: revenge against the United States and its “accomplices,” Britain and the Jews.

    “As you bomb, you will be bombed; as you kill, you will be killed,” said one of the men on a “martyrdom” videotape, whose contents were described by a senior British official and a person briefed about the case. The young man added that he hoped God would be “pleased with us and accepts our deed.”

    As it happened, the police had been monitoring the apartment with hidden video and audio equipment. Not long after the tape was recorded that day, Scotland Yard decided to shut down what they suspected was a terrorist cell. That action set off a chain of events that raised the terror threat levels in Britain and the United States, barred passengers from taking liquids on airplanes and plunged air traffic into chaos around the world.

    The ominous language of seven recovered martyrdom videotapes is among new details that emerged from interviews with high-ranking British, European and American officials last week, demonstrating that the suspects had made considerable progress toward planning a terrorist attack. Those details include fresh evidence from Britain’s most wide-ranging terror investigation: receipts for cash transfers from abroad, a handwritten diary that appears to sketch out elements of a plot, and, on martyrdom tapes, several suspects’ statements of their motives.

    But at the same time, five senior British officials said, the suspects were not prepared to strike immediately. Instead, the reactions of Britain and the United States in the wake of the arrests of 21 people on Aug. 10 were driven less by information about a specific, imminent attack than fear that other, unknown terrorists might strike.

    The suspects had been working for months out of an apartment that investigators called the “bomb factory,” where the police watched as the suspects experimented with chemicals, according to British officials and others briefed on the evidence, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity, citing British rules on confidentiality regarding criminal prosecutions.

    In searches during raids, the police discovered what they said were the necessary components to make a highly volatile liquid explosive known as HMTD, jihadist materials, receipts of Western Union money transfers, seven martyrdom videos made by six suspects and the last will and testament of a would-be bomber, senior British officials said. One of the suspects said on his martyrdom video that the “war against Muslims” in Iraq and Afghanistan had motivated him to act.

    Investigators say they believe that one of the leaders of the group, an unemployed man in his 20’s who was living in a modest apartment on government benefits, kept the key to the alleged “bomb factory” and helped others record martyrdom videos, the officials said.

    Hours after the police arrested the 21 suspects, police and government officials in both countries said they had intended to carry out the deadliest terrorist attack since Sept. 11.

    Later that day, Paul Stephenson, deputy chief of the Metropolitan Police in London, said the goal of the people suspected of plotting the attack was “mass murder on an unimaginable scale.” On the day of the arrests, some officials estimated that as many as 10 planes were to be blown up, possibly over American cities. Michael Chertoff, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, described the suspected plot as “getting really quite close to the execution stage.”

    But British officials said the suspects still had a lot of work to do. Two of the suspects did not have passports, but had applied for expedited approval. One official said the people suspected of leading the plot were still recruiting and radicalizing would-be bombers.

    While investigators found evidence on a computer memory stick indicating that one of the men had looked up airline schedules for flights from London to cities in the United States, the suspects had neither made reservations nor purchased plane tickets, a British official said. Some of their suspected bomb-making equipment was found five days after the arrests in a suitcase buried under leaves in the woods near High Wycombe, a town 30 miles northwest of London.

    Another British official stressed that martyrdom videos were often made well in advance of an attack. In fact, two and a half weeks since the inquiry became public, British investigators have still not determined whether there was a target date for the attacks or how many planes were to be involved. They say the estimate of 10 planes was speculative and exaggerated.

    In his first public statement after the arrests, Peter Clarke, chief of counterterrorism for the Metropolitan Police, acknowledged that the police were still investigating the basics: “the number, destination and timing of the flights that might be attacked.”

    A total of 25 people have been arrested in connection with the suspected plot. Twelve of them have been charged. Eight people were charged with conspiracy to commit murder and preparing acts of terrorism. Three people were charged with failing to disclose information that could help prevent a terrorist act, and a 17-year-old male suspect was charged with possession of articles that could be used to prepare a terrorist act. Eight people still in custody have not been charged. Five have been released. All the suspects arrested are British citizens ranging in age from 17 to 35.

    Despite the charges, officials said they were still unsure of one critical question: whether any of the suspects was technically capable of assembling and detonating liquid explosives while airborne.

    A chemist involved in that part of the inquiry, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was sworn to confidentiality, said HMTD, which can be prepared by combining hydrogen peroxide with other chemicals, “in theory is dangerous,” but whether the suspects “had the brights to pull it off remains to be seen.”

    While officials and experts familiar with the case say the investigation points to a serious and determined group of plotters, they add that questions about the immediacy and difficulty of the suspected bombing plot cast doubt on the accuracy of some of the public statements made at the time.

    “In retrospect,’’ said Michael A. Sheehan, the former deputy commissioner of counterterrorism in the New York Police Department, “there may have been too much hyperventilating going on.”

    Some of the suspects came to the attention of Scotland Yard more than a year ago, shortly after four suicide bombers attacked three subway trains and a double-decker bus in London on July 7, 2005, a coordinated attack that killed 56 people and wounded more than 700. The investigation was dubbed “Operation Overt.’’

    The Police Are Tipped Off

    The police were apparently tipped off by informers. One former British counterterrorism official, who was working for the government at the time, said several people living in Walthamstow, a working-class neighborhood in East London, alerted the police in July 2005 about the intentions of a small group of angry young Muslim men.

    Walthamstow is best known for its faded greyhound track and the borough of Waltham Forest, where more than 17,000 Pakistani immigrants live in the largest Pakistani enclave in London.

    Armed with the tips, MI5, Britain’s domestic security services, began an around-the-clock surveillance operation of a dozen young men living in Walthamstow — bugging their apartments, tapping their phones, monitoring their bank transactions, eavesdropping on their Internet traffic and e-mail messages, even watching where they traveled, shopped and took their laundry, according to senior British officials.

    The initial focus of the investigation was not about possible terrorism aboard planes, but an effort to see whether there were any links between the dozen men and the July 7 subway bombers, or terrorist cells in Pakistan, the officials said.

    The authorities quickly learned the identity of the man believed to have been the leader of the cell, the unemployed man in his mid-20’s, who traveled at least twice within the past year to Pakistan, where his activities are still being investigated.

    Last June, a 22-year-old Walthamstow resident, who is among the suspects arrested Aug. 10, paid $260,000 cash for a second-floor apartment in a house on Forest Road, according to official property records. The authorities noticed that six men were regularly visiting the second-floor apartment that came to be known as the “bomb factory,” according to a British official and the person briefed about the case.

    Two of the men, who were likely the bomb-makers, were conducting a series of experiments with chemicals, said the person briefed on the case.

    MI5 agents secretly installed video and audio recording equipment inside the apartment, two senior British officials said. In a secret search conducted before the Aug. 10 raids, agents had discovered that the inside of batteries had been scooped out, and that it appeared several suspects were doing chemical experiments with a sports drink named Lucozade and syringes, the person with knowledge of the case said. Investigators have said they believe that the suspects intended to bring explosive chemicals aboard planes inside sports drink bottles.

    In that apartment, according to a British official, one of the leaders and a man in his late 20’s met at least twice to discuss the suspected plot, as MI5 agents secretly watched and listened. On Aug. 9, just hours before the police raids occurred in 50 locations from East London to Birmingham, the two men met again to discuss the suspected plot and record a martyrdom video.

    As one of the men read from a script before a videocamera, he recited a quotation from the Koran and ticked off his reasons for the “action that I am going to undertake,” according to the person briefed on the case. The man said he was seeking revenge for the foreign policy of the United States, and “their accomplices, the U.K. and the Jews.” The man said he wanted to show that the enemies of Islam would never win this “war.”

    Beseeching other Muslims to join jihad, he justified the killing of innocent civilians in America and other Western countries because they supported the war against Muslims through their tax dollars. They were too busy enjoying their Western lifestyles to protest the policies, he added. Though British officials usually release little information about continuing investigations, Scotland Yard took the unusual step of disclosing some detailed information about the investigation last Monday, when the suspects were charged.

    A Trove of Evidence

    “There have been 69 searches,” Mr. Clarke, the chief antiterrorist police official from Scotland Yard, said Monday. “These have been in houses, flats and business premises, vehicles and open spaces.”

    Investigators also seized more than 400 computers, 200 mobile phones and 8,000 items like memory sticks, CD’s and DVD’s. “The scale is immense,” Mr. Clarke said. “Inquiries will span the globe.”

    He said those searches revealed a trove of evidence, and officials and others last week provided additional details.

    Four of the law firms that are defending suspects declined to comment.

    When police officers knocked down the door to the second-floor apartment on Forest Road, they found a plastic bin filled with liquid, batteries, nearly a dozen empty drink bottles, rubber gloves, digital scales and a disposable camera that was leaking liquid, the person with knowledge of the case said. The camera might have been a prototype for a device to smuggle chemicals on the plane.

    In the pocket of one of the suspects, the police found the computer memory stick that showed he had looked up airline schedules for flights from London to the United States, a British official said. The man is said to have had a diary that included a list that the police interpreted as a step-by-step plan for an attack. The items included batteries and Lucozade bottles. It also included a reminder to select a date.

    In the homes of a number of the suspects, the police found jihadist literature and DVD’s about “genocide” in Iraq and Palestine, according to British officials. In one house searched by the police in Walthamstow, the authorities found a copy of a book called “Defense of the Muslim Lands.”

    A “last will and testament” for one of the accused was said to have been found at his brother’s home. Dated Sept. 24, 2005, the will concludes, “What should I worry when I die a Muslim, in the manner in which I am to die, I go to my death for the sake of my maker.” God, he added, can if he wants “bless limbs torn away!!!”

    Looking for Global Ties

    In addition, the British authorities are scouring the evidence for clues to whether there is a global dimension to the suspected plot, particularly the extent to which it was planned, financed or supported in Pakistan, and whether there is a connection to remnants of Al Qaeda. They are still trying to determine who provided the cash for the apartment and the computer equipment and telephones, officials said.

    Several of the suspects had traveled to Pakistan within weeks of the arrests, according to an American counterterrorism official.

    At a minimum, investigators say at least one of the suspects’ inspiration was drawn from Al Qaeda. One of the suspects’ “kill-as-they-kill” martyrdom video was taken from a November 2002 fatwa by Osama bin Laden.

    British officials said many of the questions about the suspected plot remained unanswered because they were forced to make the arrests before Scotland Yard was ready.

    The trigger was the arrest in Pakistan of Rashid Rauf, a 25-year-old British citizen with dual Pakistani citizenship, whom Pakistani investigators have described as a “key figure” in the plot.

    In 2000, Mr. Rauf’s father founded Crescent Relief London, a charity that sent money to victims of last October’s earthquake in Pakistan. Several suspects met through their involvement in the charity, a friend of one of them said. Last week, Britain froze the charity’s bank accounts and opened an investigation into possible “terrorist abuse of charitable funds.” Leaders of the charity have denied the allegations.

    Several senior British officials said the Pakistanis arrested Rashid Rauf without informing them first. The arrest surprised and frustrated investigators here who had wanted to monitor the suspects longer, primarily to gather more evidence and to determine whether they had identified all the people involved in the suspected plot.

    But within hours of Mr. Rauf’s arrest on Aug. 9 in Pakistan, British officials heard from intelligence sources that someone connected to him had tried to contact some of the suspects in East London. The message was interpreted by investigators as a possible signal to move forward with the plot, officials said.

    “The plotters received a very short message to ‘Go now,’ ” said Franco Frattini, the European Union’s security commissioner, who was briefed by the British home secretary, John Reid, in London. “I was convinced by British authorities that this message exists.”

    A senior British official said the message from Pakistan was not that explicit. But, nonetheless, investigators here had to change their strategy quickly.

    “The aim was to keep this operation going for much longer,” said a senior British security official who requested anonymity because of confidentiality rules. “It ended much sooner than we had hoped.”

    From then on, the British government was driven by worst-case scenarios based on a minimum-risk strategy.

    British investigators worried that word of Mr. Rauf’s arrest could push the London suspects to destroy evidence and to disperse, raising the possibility they would not be able to arrest them all. But investigators also could not rule out that there could be an unknown second cell that would try to carry out a similar plan, officials said.

    Mr. Clarke, as the country’s top antiterrorism police official in London with authority over police decisions, ordered the arrests.

    But it was left to Mr. Reid, who has been home secretary since May and is a former defense secretary, to decide at emergency meetings of police, national security and transport leaders, what else needed to be done. Mr. Reid and Mr. Clarke declined repeated requests for interviews.

    Prime Minister Tony Blair was on vacation in Barbados, where he was said to have monitored events in London; Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott did not attend the meeting.

    “While the arrests were unfolding, the Home Office raised Britain’s terror alert level to “critical,” as the police continued their raids of suspects’ homes and cars. All liquids were banned from carry-on bags, and some public officials in Britain and the United States said an attack appeared to be imminent. In addition to Mr. Stephenson’s remark that the attack would have been “mass murder on an unimaginable scale,” Mr. Reid said that attacks were “highly likely” and predicted that the loss of life would have been on an “unprecedented scale.”

    Two weeks later, senior officials here characterized the remarks as unfortunate. As more information was analyzed and the British government decided that the attack was not imminent, Mr. Reid sought to calm the country by backing off from his dire predictions, while defending the decision to raise the alert level to its highest level as a precaution.

    In lowering the threat level from critical to severe on Aug. 14, Mr. Reid acknowledged: “Threat level assessments are intelligence-led. It is not a process where scientific precision is possible. They involve judgments.


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    Reactions: Twitter, blogs
    1. Serious Golmal »

      [...] Pickled Politics is one of hundreds of internet sites that are mirroring the article published. So, for the sake of Google points I’m posting the link to Sunny’s post, where you can read the article in full version here. [...]

    2. NY Times blocks Airline Plot article « All About Nothing

      [...] This entry should be titled “US newspaper stirs with nothing new” or something similar…anyway, taking a leaf out of this blog’s book here’s another link to Pickled Politics to up its Google rankings. [...]

    1. Utbah — on 30th August, 2006 at 1:13 am  

      Thank you Sunny for this, but didn’t Reid limit the discussion on this subject, so that they can have a fair trial?

      Anyway, back to the topic. So here we have the proof that foreign policy played the vital point in this.

      “As you bomb, you will be bombed; as you kill, you will be killed,”

      “One of the suspects said on his martyrdom video that the “war against Muslims” in Iraq and Afghanistan had motivated him to act.”

      In the homes of a number of the suspects, the police found jihadist literature and DVD’s about “genocide” in Iraq and Palestine, according to British officials. In one house searched by the police in Walthamstow, the authorities found a copy of a book called “Defense of the Muslim Lands.”

    2. Sunny — on 30th August, 2006 at 2:13 am  

      Well, thank god we’re hosted in the USA then. And secondly, I’d like Reid to prove how this article prejudices the trial more than his claims following the arrests.

    3. Yakoub/Julaybib — on 30th August, 2006 at 8:37 am  

      “I’d like Reid to prove how this article prejudices the trial more than his claims following the arrests.”

      Of course Reid’s hystrionics prejudiced the trial, and moreover, they seem to have been followed by a concerted attempt by the British government to stick the boot into the British Muslim community, which is also equally prejudicial.

      Thanks for posting this.





    4. brian — on 30th August, 2006 at 10:19 am  

      Anyway, back to the topic. So here we have the proof that foreign policy played the vital point in this.

      Because one of those nutters said it? Part of Britain’s foreign policy at the moment is aimed explicitely at trying to annihilate violet Islamic fanatics like them. Of Course he is bound to say that.

    5. Jai — on 30th August, 2006 at 10:32 am  


      =>”Anyway, back to the topic. So here we have the proof that foreign policy played the vital point in this.”

      Unless you are going to tell me that Islam permits the killing of unarmed civilians off the battlefield with the caveat that this is allowed as “revenge” for perceived identical actions by the “enemy”, British foreign policy should play no part in the selection of warfare tactics deployed by people claiming to be devout Muslims and acting in the name of Islam.

      Such individuals should act according to the guidelines and restrictions laid down by Islam and adhere to them without compromise, irrespective of what the other party may be perceived to be doing.

      Otherwise, they shouldn’t claim to be devout Muslims, they shouldn’t claim to be acting in the name of Islam, and they shouldn’t claim that they have any support for their actions whatsoever from God.

      Twisting religious tenets and using supposed “loopholes” to excuse one’s own nefarious actions contravening the teachings of the faith is abhorrent and hypocritical in the extreme, whether the person is Osama bin Laden or some “angry” twentysomething Muslim living in Walthamstow.

    6. Leon — on 30th August, 2006 at 10:56 am  

      Nice one Sunny! A perfect example of the power of blogs if there ever was one! Let us know if you recieve any notification to pull this down (the only prob I forsee would be the NY demanding you take it down if it wasn’t printed in whole with persmission).

    7. Francis Sedgemore — on 30th August, 2006 at 10:58 am  

      Sunny - I agree totally with your point about prejudicing the trial, but it may be better in such circumstances to post clear instructions on how to use a web proxy, and include a link to one that you know will work in the circumstances.

      Is the law totally clear on UK residents’ internet activities, when the sites on which they publish their material are hosted on servers sited outside UK jurisdiction? I’d really like to know this, as it could influence what I post on my blog.

      As for those who criticise John Reid and the police over the way in which the case is being handled, you can question the government’s political motives, but what else could or should they have done? Given Forest Gate and other cockups, the public are demanding fuller disclosure than is normal, and, in this case, they’ve got it. But I don’t see that what the CPS and police said during their joint press conferences prejudiced the defence case.

      John Reid’s comments may have been a bit off, but the case is out of his hands, and if Dr Reid has done wrong, it is for the courts to censure him. That they haven’t taken action, or even given him a mild slap on the wrist, indicates that the Home Secretary hasn’t broken any rules.

    8. soru — on 30th August, 2006 at 10:59 am  

      I believe British forces withdrew from Palestine in around 1948.

      It is one thing to say that foreign policy is the stated motivation of these people, it is another to think that a change of UK foreign policy would change their behaviour, and a third thing again to claim that a change for the better in UK foreign policy would correspond to a change for the better in their behaviour.

    9. Jai — on 30th August, 2006 at 11:35 am  


      Well, that’s the point isn’t it. The problem is that if they succeed in one “demand”, there’s subsequently going to be another. And then another. And then another. And so on.

      They may claim this isn’t the case, but the word of a person/group who is willing to kill civilians and use a) religion and b) foreign policy/”oppression”/etc as excuses to justify their actions doesn’t necessarily have a great deal of credibility.

      The fact that they mix genuine injustices with manufactured grievances in order to further their cause doesn’t help matters either.

    10. Jackson Paul — on 30th August, 2006 at 12:08 pm  

      Of course Reid’s hystrionics prejudiced the trial, and moreover, they seem to have been followed by a concerted attempt by the British government to stick the boot into the British Muslim community

      This is nonsense. The British government has always gone out of its way to do all it can to not stigmatise the Muslim community. The only people who have stigmatised the Muslim community, apart from the extremists who plot and commit murder in their name, are the witless imbecile ‘Muslim leaders’ who stick their head in the sand and make ‘demands’ of British society in order to defeat this cancerous growth within a minority of British Muslims. Instead of just staying quiet they see it as an opportunity to get special priveliges and assert their Islamist nationalism and thoroughly hateful communalist ideologies.

      But it is always easier to blame the government, in fevered imaginings, isnt it?

    11. Chairwoman — on 30th August, 2006 at 1:08 pm  

      Sunny - why exactly did you post this? Are you hoping to de-rail the prosecution? Or is it perhaps that you are frightened of being called an Islamaphobe again?

      May I remind you that when acts of terrorism are commited, people of all colour, nationality, and creed are the victims. When you go out of your way to jeopardise the trial of people being accused of planning to cause the deaths of many others, you are, inadvertantly I assume, contributing to terrorism.

      There’s just one other point, I realise that I am digressing, but I don’t know where else to make it.

      Suicide bombers are always young people directed by older people. The reason for this is simple. Older people know how sweet and valuable life is and cling to it themselves. They have also learned that no philosophy is worth giving up ones life for. This is the worst immorality of such immoral actions. They use young idealists to commit outrages they would never commit themselves. They are worthless acts that achieve nothing but the death of the perpetrators, and of course the hapless victims.

      Reward in heaven? I’m not sure such a place exists, but if it does, I don’t think so.

    12. Leon — on 30th August, 2006 at 1:36 pm  

      They are worthless acts that achieve nothing but the death of the perpetrators,

      SBing represents a realistic cost/benifit in terms of military impact. It’s cheaper to outfit a potential bomber (with training and indocrination) than it is to outfit an army. In terms of cost and outcome suicide bombing makes alot of economic sense (in their contexts of armged struggle). I think people really need to start understanding the economics behind terrorism…

      (disclaimer: I don’t condone SBing but I do condone trying to understand the motives and situations that create them)

      Back to the topic at hand, reading that article there isn’t really that much that isn’t in the public domain.

      As already said John Reid blatantly tried to predjudice the trial.

      Who has greater effect on the trial the Home Secretary of Her Majesties Government or Sunny Hundal a blogger?

    13. David T — on 30th August, 2006 at 1:44 pm  

      You need only read the judgement in the appeal of Rose West - a case which was widely and publicly discussed prior to the trial - to realise that the Courts do not generally, or lightly, hold that the fairness of trials have been prejudiced by pre-trial discussion of the case.

    14. Kulvinder — on 30th August, 2006 at 2:04 pm  

      I find the attitude of the NYT very patronising, newspapers here have already published everything they have and there isn’t any ‘sensational evidence’ thats been brought up. If government ministers are happy to talk to the flipping NYT about this i don’t exactly think its going to be a problem to report it. No media outlet in the UK has been warned over its coverage. This is completely out of the blue and basically a foreign newspaper interpreting the law in its own way.

      Whats really amusing is anyone with a proxy like sunny can get the story, or even just asking a friend in another country over MSN - let alone the millions of AOL users whose IPs resolve to the US and can see it hassle free.

    15. Sunny — on 30th August, 2006 at 2:10 pm  

      why exactly did you post this?

      Only because the article has some interesting information about what has been going on behind the scenes.

      However, I don’t think these boys are innocent in the way the Forest Gate incident was. The evidence seems to be overwhelmingly against them, though I’m sure a trial will reveal more. Incidents like Forest Gate and Charles De Menzes aside, I do believe there are people willing to replicate 7/7 or 9/11.

      However it’s interesting that the US press has been giving out more details on this case (whether through leaks from their own govt) than here. All we hear here is John Reid telling us how unimaginable the terror was. Well, I can imagine a lot of deaths… given what we saw recently in Lebanon and is continuing in Iraq.

    16. Jai — on 30th August, 2006 at 2:41 pm  


      re: your post #11

      I’ve mentioned a number of times on PP that I think the “oldies” are essentially using the younger jihadis as cannon fodder. However, I wouldn’t necessarily agree with your opinion that the older people concerned aren’t motivated by religious concerns — they probably find a way to justify their own continuing existence as “generals” or “spiritual motivators” via convoluted self-serving mental gymnastics. Maybe they also think they’ll get a greater “prize” in the Afterlife for “inspiring” so many youngsters to die for the jihadi cause.

      Their hypocrisy is evident, of course. There is a proverb in several North Indian languages that roughly translates to “deliberately encouraging someone else to go to the hangman’s noose”.

    17. Chairwoman — on 30th August, 2006 at 3:10 pm  

      Jai - ‘Generals’ and ‘Spiritual Motivators’ habitually use young men to carry out acts of war on their behalf. It has always been that way, as, obviously younger people are better equiped physically for warfare than the old.

      You don’t, however, need to be too fit to strap on an explosive belt, or a rucksack, do you? Even I, on my mobility scooter could do it were I of a mind, which, let me assure you all, I am most certainly not. There is no political cause or philosophy that I would die for, and certainly none for which I would kill innocent people. I know better. No, this is one war that the ‘Generals’ could fight for themselves, but I doubt that they will. I sincerely hope that, should an afterlife exists, they will indeed receive their prize.

      Leon - I have no doubt that suicide bombing is economically viable, but if it doesn’t achieve its political ends, it’s still just a waste of time and lives.

    18. Leon — on 30th August, 2006 at 3:46 pm  

      I have no doubt that suicide bombing is economically viable, but if it doesn’t achieve its political ends, it’s still just a waste of time and lives.

      How do you evaluate whether their political ends have been met, how do we know they haven’t succeeded or wont in the future? Did IRA/Sinn Fein lose in their “terrorist” campaign for e.g.?

    19. Chairwoman — on 30th August, 2006 at 3:59 pm  

      Leon - as I remember, it was when the IRA became more political and less military that they began to achieve their aims. No doubt you’ll correct me if I am wrong, but the IRA frequently gave warning of their intentions, even though they were not always successfully acted upon.

      I am not aware of any suicide bombers giving prior warning, perhaps if they did, they would find their political aims looked on more favourably.

    20. Leon — on 30th August, 2006 at 4:09 pm  

      I’m not talking about the relative humanity of their actions but pointing out that aims and objectives of actions are not always obvious in their “success” (I don’t remember the ANC giving warning etc).

    21. Chairwoman — on 30th August, 2006 at 4:42 pm  

      Leon - people would have been less inclined to sit down with the IRA if they hadn’t shown humanity.

      As for the ANC, I don’t think that it was their military actions that eventually won the day, but the political drip, drip, dripping that wore away the granite of apartheid. Also the many South Africans of all colours and religions who left the country rather than live under that system.

    22. Leon — on 30th August, 2006 at 4:44 pm  

      I agree regarding the ANC but that wasn’t my point, they, as far as I’m aware, didn’t give warnings so based on your logic how are they any different from Palestinions?

    23. The Common Humanist — on 30th August, 2006 at 4:50 pm  

      The IRA became progressively more political and less military when it realised that the British weren’t going anywhere and that a military victory would be impossible.

      As for the ‘bomb and you will be bombed’ - threats rarely work on societies or Governments.

      And why are Muslims always ‘angry’ at Western Governments? If we are talking body counts the biggest threats to muslims are, well, other muslims.

      Take Saddam Hussein, 2 MILLION dead on his butchers bill and barely a peep out of any organised poltical muslim group in the West. The West eventually gets rid of him and all hell breaks loose. The anti Saddam campaign was run by Kurdish exiles and the staff of the Daily Mirror. Kurds do seem to have more of a conscience as a political group.

      How many body bags does the Iranians have to fill before Muslims in the West start to think, hang on, these are totalitarean bastards???? The Iranian Theocracy has killed many many liberals, trades unionists, gays, lesbians, communists, socialists etc etc etc. Wheres the outrage?

      Ditto the Taliban, f8ckinfg medieval bastards and barely a peep from political Islam in the West but when the West intervenes…….

      Take Darfur - Muslims killing muslims and political Islam in the West isn’t really that bothered. Could it be because the victims are black and the perps Arab? I would hope not but the charge for meaningful intervention is being lead by the Euston Manifesto types. Wheres MPACs contribution?

      None of this is to excuse the way Israel behaves in the West Bank, Gaza etc (Don’t get me started on that - will be a long post) and I don’t think the US has handled Iraq at all well (huge understatement) but wheres the balance?

      Why does it seem that Muslim deaths have more worth if the perpetrators are from the West and if the perps are Muslim then they seem to matter less?

      Thats how it often looks I’m afraid.

      But what would I know, I just think a crime is a crime is a crime and that human rights are universal.

    24. Chairwoman — on 30th August, 2006 at 4:56 pm  

      Leon - They’re different in as much as they didn’t export their acts of violence world-wide.

      I’m not going to go backwards and forwards with this. You know what my opinion is, and I know yours. Neither of us is going to convince the other, I’m cool with that. Let us cordially agree to disagree.

    25. Leon — on 30th August, 2006 at 5:34 pm  

      To be honest, I’m not trying to convince you of anything, just hoping you’ll persuade yourself of a few things…

    26. Chairwoman — on 30th August, 2006 at 5:42 pm  

      I already have….


    27. Bert Preast — on 30th August, 2006 at 6:30 pm  

      The Common Humanist wrote: “But what would I know, I just think a crime is a crime is a crime and that human rights are universal”

      The problem here is islam will not admit that human rights are universal.

    28. . — on 30th August, 2006 at 6:34 pm  

      What I find most interesting is that the article suggests the liquid explosives were HMTD, not TATP as we’ve been led to believe by the press over here. The 17-year-old was charged with having a book on explosives. Wikipedia suggests that there are recipes for creating HTMD in the Anarchist’s Cookbook, that incredibly inaccurate and freely available manuscript. That may be a major leap, but that it’s possible they’re charging him with having that seems utterly ludicrous.

      In short, the government yet again hyped it out off all proportion. They’d been watching these men for months. They knew actually what they were doing, or were planning to do. There’s widespread agreement that it would have been near impossible for them to mix these chemicals and create a bomb once aboard an aircraft. Some of them didn’t have passports. It seems incredibly likely the supposed ringleader in Pakistan has been tortured, hence the almost laughable claims of top-level al-Qaida involvement, and to top it all, we have to read the reality about it all from an American newspaper on blogs. Long live freedom!

    29. Qoochi — on 30th August, 2006 at 6:41 pm  

      Yeah, terrorists trying to kill people, and it’s all the government’s fault. Pathetic, that some people hate the government more than they hate murderous extremists, and more than they love the lives of people to be killed by those murderous extremists.

    30. . — on 30th August, 2006 at 6:48 pm  

      Yes, we just don’t get it, do we?

    31. Bert Preast — on 30th August, 2006 at 6:51 pm  

      I don’t believe terrorists act on behalf of their own small groups. They act because they genuinely believe they have the tacit support of most of their people.

    32. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 31st August, 2006 at 9:28 am  

      Bert Preast,

      Actually you gotta understand some of these people and what they think about thier people. See they are the true muslims who must wake of the sleeping Muslims who have become decadent and drunk from secularism and religious negligence. Most likely a wake up call.

    33. Chairwoman — on 31st August, 2006 at 11:20 am  

      bikhair aka taqiyyah - Frankly I’m appalled. How in the name of all that’s considered holy can death and destruction be construed as a ‘wake up call’?

    34. Sajn — on 31st August, 2006 at 11:52 pm  

      Bert Preast (wonderful name by the way) the declaration that you linked to was made by politicians and not by any recognised scholarly body. Hence it has little if any value amongst Muslims and should not be taken as “gospel”.

    35. Sajn — on 31st August, 2006 at 11:53 pm  

      Chairwoman I wonder if you have misunderstood what Bikhair was saying?

    36. Bert Preast — on 1st September, 2006 at 10:21 am  

      Sajn - The OIC has a clue in the name as to whether it’s political or religious. It’s probably the most powerful religious body in the world. It’s also where the Islamic Fiqh Academy comes from. For the declaration, the first and last articles make it quite clear that it’s religious in nature.

      The UN universal declaration of human rights was written by politicians rather than clerics too, and of course has been broken many times in many places. However, no one else has a problem with the theory of the thing. To the best of my knowledge it’s been accepted almost universally, islam being the only religion that felt the need to make it’s own version.

    37. Chairwoman — on 1st September, 2006 at 10:50 am  

      Sajin - if that was irony or sarcasm, I need it a little heavier.

    38. Baz Choudhry — on 10th September, 2006 at 11:44 pm  

      Chairwoman — wrote on 30th August, 2006 at 1:08 pm

      “Suicide bombers are always young people directed by older people. The reason for this is simple. Older people know how sweet and valuable life is and cling to it themselves. They have also learned that no philosophy is worth giving up ones life for. This is the worst immorality of such immoral actions. They use young idealists to commit outrages they would never commit themselves. They are worthless acts that achieve nothing but the death of the perpetrators, and of course the hapless victims.”

      Was it not the US that sent it’s predominantly young, inexperienced and disproportionately black soldiers to fight in Vietnam - and for precisely what cause did they die? What about Iraq and Afghanistan? Exactly how many OLD soldiers do you see fighting on the front lines taking bullets for their generals and political masters alike?

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