Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Five Out Of Seven: British Bomb Plotters Convicted And Sentenced To Life

A British jury has convicted five of the seven men who were accused of plotting to blow up ... something, anything! ... using the fertilizer which British police claim to have discovered in a rented storage unit and aluminum powder which they say they found in a cookie tin in the mastermind's back yard. The judge has sentenced the convicted men to life in prison.

And rightly so! The evidence was incredibly compelling!

The evidence that had been carefully collected during the fifteen months while the convicted terrorists were merely suspects under surveillance was supplemented with additional evidence developed during the two years between their March 2004 arrests and the beginning of their year-long trial.

This accumulated proof of their guilt was so compelling that the jury deliberated longer than any previous jury in British legal history. In fact they might still be deliberating over this potentially catastrophic plot had the judge not intervened during the deliberation to tell them he didn't require a unanimous verdict, because 11-1 or even 10-2 would be good enough.

The men convicted in this case are tied to both al-Q'aeda and the 7/7 London bombings of 2005, which as noted previously (here and elsewhere) were so fishy they could never be (and in fact never were) subjected to any sort of investigation. The connection involves Mohammed Sidique Khan, whom police say was the ringleader behind the 7/7 attacks.

One of the two so-called ringleaders of this so-called plot was Omar Khyam [top left in photo], who last September refused to continue testifying after his first two days on the stand, saying that his family in Pakistan had been threatened by agents of the Pakistani intelligence service ISI. Apparently the ISI didn't want the court to hear any more from Khyam, who had let it slip that he had been trained not by al-Q'aeda but by ISI.

Pakistan is supposedly America's greatest ally in the GWOT, but it's becoming more and more apparent that ISI is effectively the South Asia branch of CIA and is closely linked to the British intelligence service MI6. And this connection is a matter of considerable embarrassment to British authorities. Or else it would be an embarrassment if it were widely-known, and/or if the British authorities were in any sense interested in telling the truth.

The other so-called ringleader [bottom middle in photo] was Anthony Garcia, a Moroccan formerly known as Rahman Benouis who changed his name while looking for work as a model, hopeful that landing a gig would be easier with a Latin-sounding name than an Arabic-sounding one. Garcia also implicated Pakistan in his testimony and testified that he knew about the fertilizer but thought it was to be shipped to Pakistan.

Another suspect whose name has appeared briefly in this space was acquitted: Shujah Ud-Dir-Mahmood, who testified that he cried himself to sleep at terrorist training camp because he missed his mum. So apparently it doesn't always pay to be a tough-guy!

As for coverage of today's momentous event, the Times Online has the best possible headline, How police and MI5 foiled 'Britain's 9/11' and they also accept comments although they have not seen fit to post the comment I submitted. Funny thing, that. Apparently I got talking about the connection between Omar Khyam and ISI.

There is, however, the obligatory pre-emptive comment:
I'm waiting for the moonbats to start blaming Israel, Iraq, Bush or Blair or all of the above.
Colour me surprised on that one, eh what, old chap?

The "professional" coverage has been unsurprising in other ways as well, with the AP's David Stringer writing
A judge sentenced five men to life in prison today for plotting to bomb several targets in London -- including a popular nightclub, power plants and shopping mall...
as if they had been planning multiple simultaneous bombings, even though the official story -- and the one being reported almost everywhere else -- says they had talked about a lot of possibilites but hadn't selected a target. There has never been, to my knowledge, any hint that they may have been planning to bomb more than one target.

But that's a minor point, and could certainly have been an unintentional insinuation on Mr. Stringer's part. On the other hand, the fertilizer plot was certainly aromatic, according to the Times Online account, which follows the cash:
The fertiliser was taken to Access Storage near Heathrow. Khyam refused to answer questions about why he was paying £207 a month to store £90 worth of fertiliser.
It doesn't sound like good cash-flow management to me, but what the heck? More to the point, I wouldn't answer questions like that either, would you?

The 7/7 connection is bothersome to some people, especially family members of 7/7 victims, some of whom may see their relatives as victims of an intelligence failure. They are asking about the connection: If the terrorists convicted today were known associates of Mohammed Sidique Khan, and Mohammed Sidique Khan was the ringleader of the 7/7 attacks, and the terrorists convicted today were arrested in 2004, does that mean the 7/7 attacks were committed by a known terrorist who could have and should have been stopped long before he hurt anyone?

One might think this objection would lead to a proper investigation of 7/7, and indeed it well may do so, but this does not seem likely at the moment, as the British home secretary has already announced.

The idea that an investigation might suggest that they should have detained Mohammed Sidique Khan before 7/7 is the least of the British authorities' fears. In all likelihood you'll see them spin this into a security failure of some sort that can only be rectified through a further clampdown on civil liberties; in any event the first version of the official story of how the 7/7 bombers were overlooked has already been disseminated.

The Mohammed Sidique Khan angle might be used as the basis for a whitewash, but it says here that from the point of view of the British authorities, the biggest danger inherent in any potential 7/7 investigation lies in the difficulty of running such a thing -- whitewash or no -- without exposing all the rogue three-letter agencies. (Well, mostly letters; Would you believe letters plus the digits 5 and 6?)

Where was I? Ah yes, the rogue agencies. The big danger is the possibility of exposing the somewhat plausibly deniable ways in which these rogue agencies are tied together to produce "terror of global reach".

And the word "somewhat" is key here; it's the variable. Plausible deniability ain't what it used to be. Tracks that once were covered are now easily visible.

And if a real investigation of 7/7 were to occur, it could be explosive. All of a sudden, instead of asking "Shouldn't they have arrested Mohammed Sidique Khan a long time before 7/7?", people would be asking questions like "Why are we funding the same guys that we're supposedly fighting?"

It's been well and truly said that the UK and the USA are two cultures divided by a common language. But we're not completely severed. Surely we benefit from inherent parallelism and a human bridge.

The bridge in my view consists of people who understand both cultures (or at least certain aspects of them) well enough to speak to (and understand) people on both sides of the Atlantic. Think of a journalist who started out in Tennessee but now lives in London, for example. Or a blogger who writes about cricket and American politics. Of course there are many others...

The inherent parallelism is best displayed in the way we use vastly different words for so many common simple things. This is sometimes easier to understand by reference to a third (neutral) language, as in the following examples:

The British say "leader" where the Americans would say "headline" and the French would say "manchette".

Similarly the Brits say "petrol" where the Americans say "gas" and the French say "gazeau".

These examples are well-known, but fewer people understand that "7/7 Truth" means almost exactly the same as "9/11 Truth". The French have a word for that, too: "Guillotines!"

In light of all this additional but still mostly unreported information, it's difficult not to grant a special Spinner Du Jour award to the aforementioned AP scribe David Stringer, who took great pains to inform us that
Court-imposed restrictions to ensure the men had a fair trial prohibited reporters from revealing [their links to 7/7 and al-Q'aeda] until the case ended.
It's reassuring to know that this vital information was suppressed in order to uphold the value of a fair trial, not because it would have made the current British position (i.e. no-investigation-ever) even more untenable than it already is.

There are many unanswered questions and I cannot deal with all of them at the moment, although I will probably ask and answer more of them some day. For now, three quick ones:

1) Their bomb didn't go off, did it?

What bomb? They never built a bomb.

2) How much stiffer would their sentences have been if they had actually killed somebody?

That depends on who they killed. Ha ha ha.

3) If a fair trial was so important, why did the judge tell the jury he didn't need a unanimous verdict?

That's an absurd assinuation.