Suicide bomb swoop bags Musharraf's merry men
Entirely innocent supporters deported anyway
Eight days ago the Sunday Times revealed the thwarting of yet another terror plot. In late January "a group of suspected Islamist suicide bombers were arrested in a secret security operation at Gatwick airport," the paper told us, going on to describe plans for "pairs of suicide bombers... to strap explosives to their bodies and blow themselves up on the rail and bus networks in Britain, France, Germany and Portugal."
But, after questioning by counter-terrorism police at Paddington Green "they were driven under police escort back to the airport and escorted onto a flight back to Pakistan." Bafflingly, the Times failed to explain this part of the story, which certainly perplexed the first commenter, a C W of Milwaukee.
A week later the Guardian had some of the answer. Writing from Lahore Declan Walsh explained how UK diplomats had been making grovelling apologies after arresting "six Pakistani men close to President Pervez Musharraf's ruling elite" on suspicion of terrorist activity. The six had arrived on a flight from Barcelona, and had been met by "about 20 armed police and Scotland Yard detectives", then held for 21 hours.
After their lawyer arrived, police seemed to have realised their mistake. "The group were escorted to Heathrow and put on a flight to Pakistan with an apology." As the Sunday Times notes, the group were arrested ten days before its piece, headlined "Suicide bomb suspects held at Gatwick after tip-off", ran, and they were released with apologies (as the paper doesn't note) nine days before the piece ran. 'Musharraf's men busted after Yard terror blunder' is actually a much better story than yet another suicide suspect arrest at airport, so the Times' apparent failure to enquire is even more mystifying.
Any reluctance on the part of the Yard to boast about it would on the other hand be entirely understandable, and the Lahore byline on the Guardian piece is therefore significant.
But we said the Guardian had some of the answer - what about the rest? Who were these men close to "Musharraf's ruling elite"? And why were they flying to London? The group was led by Chaudhry Wajahat Hussain, brother of former Prime Minister of Pakistan and Musharraf supporter Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain. According to the local press, Wajahat "had left Pakistan on January 18 for the Netherlands to become a ‘helping hand’ for Musharraf during his nine-day visit of Europe, by arranging receptions to give an impression that the president was very popular among the overseas Pakistanis. He first held a rally in Brussels, where Musharraf went on the first leg of his unofficial tour, and then in Paris. He was returning as per schedule."
The ill-fated Barcelona leg of the journey had been intended as a shopping side-trip, with Wajahat and friends arriving in London prior to Musharraf's visit later that week. Wajahat is said to run the Wajahat force, which has been accused of intimidation in the run-up to Pakistan's elections.
Originally, a tip-off from Spanish intelligence was said to be responsible for the group's detention, but subsequently French intelligence has been blamed. Some days beforehand Spain had arrested 14 terror suspects in Barcelona on a tip-off from a French intelligence informant in Pakistan. Wajahat's group had arrived in Barcelona from Paris, an earlier stop on Musharraf's tour. So did the French - if it was the the French - wrongly think the group were terrorists, or rightly think they were something else? And if the Brits were finally convinced the group were innocent tourists or Musharraf aides, why did they deport them anyway? ®
Yay for ass kissing politicos - a permanent fixture in England
Do you know of any where that does not have arse kissing politicos.
There are Brown Nosers every where!!!!!
The guardian article mentions a promise to delete fingerprints and DNA from police databases - why?
Simple mistake based upon faulty third party intel or not, how dare they remove these peoples DNA from the database when any normal arrestee, even if found innocent or not charged will have almost NO chance of having their spuriously collected details removed. Did these people have diplomatic immunity - there was no mention of it, as they were not on any diplomatic mission in England. Maybe it is because they are brown and we can't be seen to victimise non whites - on second thoughts, I don,t think that reasoning holds much water. I would be very interested to know why foreign nationals get a much more reasoned post arrest treatment than the English on our own soil. Pedantry aside, it is no doubt simply becuase they are members of the leading political party of a volatile country - seriously though, bollocks to that. Since when did it become ok for a foreigner to get treatment from the police that an English national could never realistically hope to get? Unless they lied, and won't delete the data - that would bring them back in line the normal state of affairs.
Yay for ass kissing politicos - a permanent fixture in England.
Its always about the money....
"I think we'll find out in a couple of years that its all about money in the end."
Of course its about the money. Should read:
I think we'll find out in ten years that when we are using ethanol to power our cars, no one will care about the middle east any more."
Really. If there wasn't oil there, who would care? No one....
And I have to say, at least the UK gov makes arrests now and then and actually makes attempts to thwart nefarious plots. Here in the US, its business as usual. The goverment efforts are a joke and just cost money with no results.