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August 16, 2006

Was There REALLY A Plot To Blow Up Airplanes?

-- by Dave Johnson

Mission Accomplished. You can. not. turn on the TV or read a newspaper without everything being about terror.

From the Time Magazine blog,

So far, no one has been charged in the alleged terror plot to blow up several airplanes across the Atlantic. No evidence has been produced supporting the contention that such a plot was indeed imminent.

... Then we have the following comment from Craig Murray. Craig Murray was Tony Blair's ambassador to Uzbekistan whose internal memo complaining about evidence procured by out-sourced torture created a flap a while back. He is skeptical. Money quote:
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. And not just Muslims. Like me. Nothing from that surveillance had indicated the need for early arrests.

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?

Murray is referring to this report: Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Liberal agonies,
Reports from Pakistan suggest that much of the intelligence that led to the raids came from that country and that some of it may have been obtained in ways entirely unacceptable here. In particular Rashid Rauf, a British citizen said to be a prime source of information leading to last week's arrests, has been held without access to full consular or legal assistance. Disturbing reports in Pakistani papers that he had "broken" under interrogation have been echoed by local human rights bodies. The Guardian has quoted one, Asma Jehangir, of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, who has no doubt about the meaning of broken. "I don't deduce, I know - torture," she said. "There is simply no doubt about that, no doubt at all."
It's time for the government to cough up some evidence. Or is this like the WMD?

Posted by Dave Johnson at August 16, 2006 4:53 PM

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Tracked on August 16, 2006 5:38 PM


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