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 The Investigation: Operation Crevice
Posted: Jan 24 2008, 01:05 AM

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A 1993 article that features Waheed Mahmood's brother, Raheed

All God's children
The Sunday Times (London); Nov 7, 1993; Rebecca Fowler;

Full Text:
(Copyright 1993)

Just when religion in Britain seemed due for the last rites, young Jews, Muslims and Christians are rediscovering the faith. REBECCA FOWLER on the new believers Every morning, Rupert Fisher climbs out of his bed in Fulham, west London, at 7am for the first prayers of the day. They might be for a friend who is ill, or someone who is unhappy in their job, or perhaps a general plea for peace in Bosnia, but whoever they are for, they are passionately felt. Ten months ago, the 22-year-old estate agent found God. Before images of sandals, nylon shirts and heavy spectacles come to mind, think again. Fisher is part of the growing ranks of the young 1990s God-squad a trendy, streetwise, successful individual who is turning to religion.

Ever since the 1950s, the main faiths in Britain, such as Christianity and Judaism, have lamented their gradually declining numbers.

Last week, a survey by the Christian Research Association (CRA), suggested that 1,500 people were falling away from Christian churches including 600 from the Church of England, the established faith of the land each week. Although Anglicans are already questioning the figures, there is no doubt that mainstream congregations have dwindled. Most worryingly for church leaders, it is estimated that more than half of last year's 6.7m churchgoers will have died by 2005.

Within the Jewish faith, the numbers of orthodox members, the majority, have dropped from nearly 500,000 at the end of the second world war to 300,000.

And yet, every weekend and many weekday evenings, Christian evangelical services, across the board from C of E to Methodism, are packed with congregations of which half the members are under 30. Around 120 new recruits join this wing of Christianity each week, according to the most recent English Church Census. Local "raves in the nave" church-held discos as lively as any in private clubs are thriving. Last weekend, when there was organised criticism within some parts of the Church of England against "pagan" Hallowe'en, no fewer than 500 youth groups took part.

As for Islam, its youth groups are also growing across the country Manchester, Bradford, Rochdale, Crawley and parts of London have seen particularly vigorous attendance.

Within Judaism, there is a boom in temples of learning where youngsters study, outside school or college, the rules and language of their faith. "Young people are definitely coming back. Probably fewer than those who are moving away," admits Rabbi Shlomo Levin of the south Hampstead synagogue in London, a magnet for young people. "But it is a hopeful sign."

What the young believers seem to have in common is the zeal normally associated with the convert it could, in some cases, loosely be termed fundamentalism, a strict adherence to the tenets of the faith. But what is less clear as yet, in these early stages of religious revival, is why.

While the acquisitiveness of the Me generation does not seem to have satisfied Thatcher's children, neither is conventional, mainstream religion always able to supply their need.

Instead, Britain's embryonic congregations of the future are seeking moral certainty and a faith that appears to offer "value for money", with rules and guidelines that are a rebellion in their own right against the anything-goes legacy of their parents.

Rupert Fisher, like the majority of his fellow Christian returnees, has turned to evangelism. It is at once modern in its services, typified by tambourines, twanging guitars and one-line songs, and fundamentalist in its teaching, adhering to the word of the Bible in the most literal way.

His conversion to God took place at a stately home on the outskirts of Hastings. Fisher's sister invited him to a Christian weekend. Within weeks he was converted, and on February 20 he declared himself a Christian and a committed member of Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB), the Knightsbridge church that has become one of the most potent symbols of rejuvenation. "It's a wonderful moment when the penny drops," he says. "You have this smile which just won't go away, and the people around you know you've been touched. They recognise that look, like a glow." Each week, he helps out at an Alpha course for new converts, where specially invited guests are given supper and asked to go for a drink and a chat afterwards. But it isn't the social life that attracts Fisher. "I thought it was important at first and there were lots of good-looking girls. But the more I got involved in the church, the less that side of it mattered, although I am going out with a Christian girl now whom I love hugely."

It is a trend that the wider church has attempted to accommodate. Despite the consternation of traditionalists, Winchester Cathedral celebrated its 900th anniversary earlier this year with a rave in the nave attended by 1,000 people who were entertained by three Christian rock bands.

In the same month, Anglicans launched a promotional video that showed young people attending Christian raves. Dr George Carey, the Archbishop of Canterbury, seemed to acknowledge the mood when he appeared sporting a baseball cap, to suggest a youthful image for the church, and said: "Whatever a person is looking for you're bound to find it in the Church of England."

The phenomenon is far from confined to Christianity. While Fisher is reaching for his Bible each morning, Raheed Mahmood, also 22, climbs out of his bed in Crawley, in Sussex, at sunrise and faces in the direction of Mecca for the first of five prayer sessions of the day. A photocopier engineer, he also rediscovered his faith earlier this year, after a period in the wilderness.

He says he was a trouble-maker before, always in scrapes with the police, "into everything" and a regular visitor to his local clubs where looks and the ability to dance made up the currency. But the questions began, and the conversion came. "I was aware of how many wars were going on, and how much of it seemed to be everyone teaming up against the Muslims, either in the Gulf or Bosnia," he says.
For such young people, the tension between the secular world, which has brought liberalisation, and powerful religious backgrounds is not an easy one. Many, notably women, believe secularisation has brought freedom from the oppressions of strict faith. A large number still believe the challenge to their culture should allow them to maintain their religious identities while still enjoying the spoils of modern society.

For hundreds of other young Muslims, however, recent political events have driven them back to the faith without compromise. The Muslim community in Britain claims women are as enthusiastic as men. "Girls of my daughter's generation, who are at London University with her, are proud to wear the veil," claims Kalim Siddiqui, who heads the Muslim parliament in Britain, a body set up to represent the rights of followers of Islam. It is these politics of Islam that have provided the biggest incentive to such returnees, according to Jamil Mohammad, currently studying the Muslim community for his doctorate at Salford University. "Young people, 16 to 25, are into Islamic politics the Salman Rushdie issue and the Iran-Iraq war help them focus in on themselves even more. The extended Muslim family helps, too. Even parents who have become less devout themselves do everything to encourage their children when they show an interest in the faith."

Despite more conservative figures from government sources, he claims there are currently 2.2m Muslims under the age of 20 who are potential soldiers for the growing army of zealous worshippers.

In the Crawley community, a Muslim youth organisation that started a few years ago with only a couple of members has swelled to 30. It is welcome news for Islam. The sight of young men such as Mahmood rushing into the mosque after work, with all the enthusiasm of the converted, and not leaving before midnight, has delighted the imams. Observers of this across-the-faiths revival sceptically refer to the F-word (for fundamentalism). The mainstream Student Christian Movement, for example, has prepared a guide to its seductive quality in a new pamphlet to be published later this month. It claims that, for potential young Christians, the attraction of a belief structure that offers absolute certainty can be misleading, and in some cases even dangerous.

But many church leaders are not surprised by the enthusiasm with which youth is rediscovering its religious heritage. Most young believers, after all, had experienced the residual faith of their parents, whether it involved a visit to church at Christmas, or a trip to the mosque for Eid-ul-Adha, a key date in the Islamic calendar, or for young Jews perhaps a few hours in the synagogue for a wedding. One of those contemplating a return to religion on a more serious level maybe attending synagogue more regularly, studying his faith more deeply is Neil Blair, 27, a lawyer and orthodox Jew who lives in north London."We're becoming much more pious than our grandfathers were," he says. "It's partly to do with the void left by our parents' generation, the liberalism of the 1960s and 1970s and to some extent the affluence of the 1980s, and part of it is to do with the fact that it's become acceptable, even trendy, to belong to something ethnic.

"Israel gives a focus to that, so lots more people are going there to visit, and its image has also become much better in recent years. But overall we are looking for more stability." The south Hampstead synagogue which he attends is filled with about 500 families, of whom one third are young people. They have become a symbol of this rediscovery of roots, which previous generations had allowed to dwindle.

The Lebavitch, an ultra-orthodox group, has seized on the opportunity to offer outreach work. It even takes a portable shed through London in order to encourage young Jews to participate in Jewish ceremonies.

If that means that some will be overcome with piety for a few years, it is a situation that is far easier to rectify than one where there is no faith at all, says Rabbi Shlomo Levin. He refers to it as the spoon factor. "If a spoon is bent the wrong way and you want to bend it back, it means pushing it all the way in the opposite direction," he says. "One extreme leads to another extreme, but in the end you find the balance."
Posted: Jan 24 2008, 01:44 AM

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Posted: Mar 7 2008, 09:17 PM

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QUOTE (justthefacts @ Jan 24 2008, 01:44 AM)
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Hi justthefacts

Is that Cherie with an asp?

Here is something I found:
Operation Crevice
Operation Crevice was, at the time, the largest counter-terrorism operation ever mounted in the United Kingdom, which led to the discovery of what is often known as the Fertiliser Bomb Plot. After the most expensive trial in British criminal history five men were subsequently convicted on a charge of conspiracy to cause explosions, and sentenced to life imprisonment.

1. The Origins of the Fertiliser Bomb Plot

The story really begins with a Muslim cleric named Omar Bakri Mohammed who gained control of Finsbury Park Mosque in London and in 1996 formed his own jihadist group known as Al-Muhajiroun. During the late 1990s Al-Muhajiroun emerged at the forefront of radical Islamist politics in the United Kingdom, gradually built a network of followers in Britain, established a branch in New York, and eventually added an office at Lahore in Pakistan. Initially Al-Muhajiroun was largely concerned with organising support for various Muslim militias fighting in Kashmir and Bosnia, however following 9/11 the focus changed to defending the Taleban regime in Afghanistan. Al-Muhajiroun was formally wound up in 2004, and Omar Bakri Mohammed fled the country in the wake of the 7/7 bombings, and is currently living in Beirut. However the network built by Al-Muhajiroun did not disappear, but simply splintered into a variety of different interconnected cells.

One of those recruited into Al-Muhajiroun was a British born Muslim of Pakistani origin named Omar Khyam. In June 2000 he left his home in Crawley to attend a training camp in Pakistan, and over the next three years he made a number of further visits to Pakistan. Whilst there, Khyam he made or renewed contact with a number of other similarly radicalised British Muslims such as Salahuddin Amin, Anthony Garcia, Waheed Mahmood and Jawad Akbar as well as an American Muslim named Mohammed Junaid Babar.

Behind these names stood the shadowy figure of 'Q', alias Mohammed Quayyum Khan, who was apparently acting under the orders of Abdul Hadi, at the time 'number three' in al-Qaeda, but now currently a guest of the US government at Guatanamo Bay. Khan, a part-time taxi driver from Luton in Bedfordshire, appears to have been a key facilitator in the movement, making the necessary arrangements to move and material around the world. British intelligence naturally became interested in the activities of Mohammed Quayyum Khan and placed him under surveillance. This soon revealed the name of Omar Khyam and sometime in March 2003 MI5 began to take a serious interest in Khyam shortly before he disappeared off to Pakistan once more in the spring of 2003.

As eager as he was to participate in the fighting in Afghanistan, Khyam decided (or was persuaded to) turn his attention back to Britain. According to the later testimony given by Mohammed Junaid Babar, Khyam had now decided to launch a terrorist attack on a British target. Khyam and his friends spent the summer of 2003 receiving explosives training at Kohat and experimenting with various explosive materials.

2. The Crawley boys

When Khyam returned to Britain in September 2003 he did so as effectively the ringleader of his own cell of would-be terrorists. Of course neither Khyam nor his fellow conspirators were aware of the fact that they were under surveillance at the time, but then the security services were similarly ignorant of certain of their activities.

In November 2003 a man calling himself 'John Lewis' contacted Bodle Brothers, a firm of agricultural merchants at Burgess Hill in West Sussex, and purchased 600 kilograms of ammonium nitrate fertiliser which he said he needed for his allotment. John Lewis was simply a convenient pseudonymn adopted by one Anthony Garcia, and having purchased the fertiliser he took it to Access Self Storage of Boston Road in Hanwell not far from Heathrow Airport. Since he'd spent all his money buying the fertiliser he persuaded a friend named Nabeel Hussein to use his debit card to pay for the storage charges.

There the fertiliser remained for some months until Emma Wallis, the receptionist at Access Self Storage, became suspicious as to why anyone should want to store such a large quantity of fertiliser during winter. In February 2004 she telephoned the MI5 anti-terrorist hotline, after which MI5 rapidly recognised that the name of Nabeel Hussein had already cropped up during their surveillance of Khyam and company. They replaced Emma Wallis with one of their own people, and also replaced the fertiliser with an inert substitute.

The importance of the ammonium nitrate fertiliser (and the reason why MI felt obliged to replace it with an inert alternative) was simply that, whilst it has a fairly obvious use as an agricultural fertiliser, it can also be used as one of the basic ingredients of a reasonably effective bomb. (The IRA built a number of fertiliser bombs, and the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995 was based on a 2,200kg mixture of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil that demolished an entire building and killed 168 people.)

A bomb, of course needs a detonator, and this case the Crawley boys relied on their American friend, Mohammed Junaid Babar, who put them in touch with a Canadian named Mohammad Momin Khawaja who worked for the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but who also claimed to be an expert in detonators. on the 20th February 2004 Khawaja flew to Britain and met with Omar Khyam to discuss the subject of detonators.

From the point of view of the Security Services this all provided clear evidence that there was a very real plot in progress, which presented a real and present danger of a terrorist attack somewhere in the United Kingdom.

3. The Arrests

After seven weeks of intensive surveillance the authorities eventually decided to act. They were aware that it was Khyam's intention to leave the United Kingdom before any bomb was detonated, and therefore took the news that he had purchased a ticket to fly to Pakistan on the 6th April, as the signal to arrest those they believed to be involved.

On the 30th March 2004 the authorities launched what they called a "pre-planned intelligence-led operation". Officers from the Metropolitan Police officers assisted by others from the Thames Valley, Sussex, Surrey and Bedfordshire Police, executed a number of search warrants issued under the Terrorism Act 2000 at premises in London and the Home Counties. In practice this meant that some seven hundred or so police officers launched a series of early morning raids at twenty-four locations across the south-east of England as a result of which eight men were arrested, two in Uxbridge, one in Ilford, one in Horley, one in Slough and three in Crawley.

At the time the authorities were very keen for it to be known that they had foiled a terrorist attack. As one quoted 'anti-terrorist source' explained, "This was a potential major terrorist outrage. We believe we have disrupted something that would have been a major attack."

Of the eight men who were originally arrested, two were eventually released, but the remaining six were charged with conspiring to cause explosions. They were later joined by a seventh suspect named Salahuddin Amin who was in Pakistan at the time, but was subsequently returned to the United Kingdom to stand trial. Their Canadian contact Mohammad Momin Khawaja was arrested by the Canadian police on the 29th March 2004. A search of his home led to the discovery of firearms, some explosives as well as a half-built remote detonator.

4. Mohammed Junaid Babar

At this point we need to say a few words regarding Mohammed Junaid Babar, who has been described as the world's first al-Qaeda supergrass. Although born in Lahore his family moved to the United States when he was two, and he was therefore a US citizen and spoke with a decidedly New York accent. Strangely enough, although his mother was in the northern tower of the World Trade Centre on 9/11 and barely escaped with her life, Babar's sympathies were with the bombers, a position which he claimed was inspired by the racism and anti-Muslim prejudice that he suffered whilst growing up in New York.

Babar was one of those recruited into the New York branch of al-Muhajiroun in 2000, and later achieved a certain notoriety when he gave a television interview in November 2001 during which he expressed the desire to "to go to Afghanistan and fight the Americans" and that he wanted to "kill every American that I see in Afghanistan, and every American I see in Pakistan". He then disappeared from view having fled to Pakistan where he made his home in Lahore, and spent the next two years organising training camps, where he made the acquaintance of various like-minded individuals, such as Omar Khyam and the Crawley boys, as well as Mohammad Sidique Khan, later to achieve notoriety as one of the 7/7 bombers.

For reasons that remain unclear Babar subsequently decided to return to the United States in early 2004, at which point he was immediately arrested by the FBI. Once in custody Babar appears to have willingly co-operated with the American authorities and provided them with a great deal on information regarding his activities. It has certainly been suggested that the FBI had procured evidence of his involvement in a plan to assassinate President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, and that he agreed to co-operate rather than be returned to Pakistan and face the death penalty for that particular charge. Babar's wife and child are also believed to have been allowed entry into the United States, and are currently in the Witness Protection Program.

In any event Babar was particularly forthcoming on the details of his involvement with Omar Khyam's plans to launch a terrorist attack on a target in Britain, and agreed to testify in their forthcoming trial in return for which he was granted immunity from prosecution in relation to any charges in the United Kingdom. The prosecution was to claim that his testimony provided "an insight as an insider into the events and plans, which an outsider could not have"; the defence on the other hands dismissed him as a "liar and a fantasist".

5. The Fertiliser Bomb Plot trial

The trial of the 'Crawley Seven' eventually opened on the 21st March 2006 with Judge Michael Astill presiding. The seven defendants were Omar Khyam, Jawad Akbar, Waheed Mahmood, and his younger brother Shujah Mahmood from Crawley in West Sussex, Anthony Garcia from Ilford, Nabeel Hussain from Horley and Salahuddin Amin from Luton. All seven were charged with "unlawfully and maliciously conspired with others to cause, by an explosive substance, an explosion of a nature likely to endanger life or cause serious damage to property" under the Explosives Substance Act 1883. Additional charges relating to the possession of substances "in circumstances which gave rise to reasonable suspicion that your possession was for a purpose connected with the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism" under the Terrorism Act 2000 where also laid against Khyam, Garcia and Hussain in relation to the 600kg of ammonium nitrate fertiliser, and against both Khyam and Shujah Mahmood in relation to a quantity of aluminium powder found during the initial police raids. All seven pleaded not guilty to all charges.

A jury of five women and seven men were selected to try the case from a panel of 125 potential jurors. At the time they were told that the case was expected to last six months, although as it turned out the case took thirteen months to reach a conclusion and with a cost of £50 million became the most expensive trial in British criminal history.

Much of the prosecution evidence consisted of the recordings of the surveillance operations conducted against the accused, which revealed various discussions that had taken place between Omar Khyam and his friends regarding what actions they might take against the British public. They apparently considered approaching the Russian mafia with a view to acquiring the materials to construct a dirty bomb, discussed various schemed which involved selling poisoned drink or food, and even considered the possibility of launching their own series of airborne suicide bomb attacks in direct emulation of 9/11.

It must be said however that the accused took very little in the way of practical steps to further any of these particular schemes. The one plan that did progress beyond the initial concept stage was that of building themselves a car bomb, where they had clearly acquired the basic materials necessary in the form of the fertiliser and a quantity of aluminium powder, whilst they had made contact with an individual whom they believed could supply them the necessary detonators.

Further surveillance recordings revealed the discussions took place regarding the choice of targets for their campaign. Waheed Mahmood (an employee of National Grid Transco) favoured targeting the gas and electricity supply network and had stolen a set of CDs which showed the locations of some of the high-pressure gas pipelines. Other potential targets included the Bluewater shopping centre, and the Ministry of Sound nightclub, this latter target being favoured by Jawad Akbar on the grounds that "No one can even turn around and say 'oh they were innocent', those slags dancing around." They had also procured a twelve page list identifying the location of almost every British synagogue.

Of course the prosecution also had the testimony of their star witness Mohammed Junaid Babar who was able to testify as to what certain of the accused had got up to on their summer holidays in Pakistan, as well as providing his 'inside knowledge' of the plot.

As far as the defendants were concerned (all of whom, it must be remembered, denied all charges); Nabeel Hussain admitted that whilst he had provided the money to pay for storing the fertiliser, he only did so because Jawad Akbar was his cousin, and had no idea what was being stored or to what use it might be put. Shujah Mahmood, who was seventeen at the time of his arrest, similarly claimed that he was ignorant of any plot and that he had simply been acting under the influence of his older brother Waheed.

Salahuddin Amin, who had actually confessed to his involvement in the plot, claimed in court that he had only done so as a result of his mistreatment at the hands of the Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) when he was initially arrested in Pakistan. He claimed that they ISI had used "bad language, profanities against my family, threats to rape me with the wooden handle of the lash and a lot of swear words", and that he had also been "beaten and flogged, threatened with an electric drill".

Omar Khyam began to give evidence in his defence but then refused to say anything further on the 18th September 2006, claiming that the "ISI has had a word with my family in Pakistan regarding what I have been saying about them". The other three defendents similarly all chose not to give evidence, claiming that their families would otherwise be harassed or arrested by the ISI.

The profusion of surveillance recordings meant that the defence could hardly deny that the accused had indeed sat down together and discussed how they might commit terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom. The basis of the defence was therefore that the accused were simply "young, Muslim and angry at the global injustices against Muslims"; that is, they were a bunch of hotheads letting off steam and that there was never any real threat that they would do anything, whilst the evidence of Mohammed Junaid Babar should be discounted because he as either an FBI double agent or had simply invented the details of the plot in order to curry favour with the authorities.

6. The Verdicts

The jury deliberated for a total of twenty-seven days (another British record), during which time the trial judge announced on the 20th April that he would accept a majority verdict. The verdicts were eventually delivered on the 30 April 2007 with five of the accused, Omar Khyam, Waheed Mahmood, and Jawad Akbar, Salahuddin Amin, Anthony Garcia, being found guilty of the main charge of conspiracy to cause explosions, whilst both Shujah Mahmood and Nabeel Hussain, were found not guilty of all charges.

In passing sentence Judge Michael Astill pronounced that the five convicted men had "betrayed this country that has given you every opportunity" and sentenced each to a term of life imprisonment. He further set out the specified minimum terms to be served as, 20 years in the case of Anthony Garcia, 35 years for Jawad Akbar and Salahuddin Amin and 40 years in respect of Waheed Mahmood and Omar Khyam, although the judge warned them that "all of you may never be released".

One of the defence solicitors Imran Khan, issued a statement on behalf of the five convicted defendants, which claimed that the case had been brought in "an atmosphere of hostility against Muslims", denied that there was ever any conspiracy to cause explosions, and repeated the assertion that whatever they might have said they never had the intention of committing any terrorist attacks. Another solicitor Tayab Ali, issued a further statement on behalf of Salahuddin Amin which asserted his innocence and claimed that he had been "convicted by false evidence and the fruits of torture". Salahuddin Amin at least, intends to appeal.

7. The 7/7 connection

On the 7th July 2005 five suicide bombers targeted the London transport system in a series of co-ordinated attacks that killed fifty-two people. At the time the authorities claimed that the bombers were 'clean skins', that is completely unknown to the security services, and that the attack therefore came out of the blue.

It later became apparent that two of the 7/7 bombers Mohammad Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer were closely connected with those arrested as a result of Operation Crevice, having been present at the same time at various training camps in Pakistan, and having made contact in Britain. Although the bare outline of this connection was first revealed in January 2006 few details were made public as Judge Michael Astill had ruled that any evidence relating to said connection was inadmissable as it would prejuduce the trial of the Crawley Seven.

It was only therefore with the conclusion of the Fertiliser bomb plot that these details became public knowledge, when it was revealed that Mohammad Sidique Khan had met with Omar Khyam on at least four occasions during the time the latter was under intense surveillance. This very naturally led many to ask the question; if the authorities were able to arrest Omar Khyam and company and thereby prevent one terrorist attack, why hadn't they similarly acted against Mohammad Sidique Khan and prevented the 7/7 attacks?

The official explanation was that Operation Crevice resulted in fifty-five names being identified as "individuals of interest", and that both Khan and Tanweer were categorised as "desirable" rather than "essential" targets because as far as they could see at the time they were only involved in credit card fraud and not directly linked to terrorism. MI5 further claimed that they passed the relevant details onto the West Yorkshire Police who then failed to investigate any further. The West Yorkshire Police have let it be known that the first time they ever heard of the matter was when they were later approached by a BBC journalist.

Both the main opposition parties used the issue as yet another stick with which to beat the government and demanded a public inquiry into Operation Crevice and its connection to the 7/7 bombings. The British government ruled out holding any such public inquiry, claiming that it would divert resources away from the task of combating the current terrorist threat. The official line was that the House of Commons Intelligence and Security Committee was the proper body to examine such questions. The IASC had already investigated the issue and concluded that the Security Services did nothing wrong, and the chairman soon made it known that as far as he was concerned nothing had since come to light which would change that conclusion.

None of which necessarily really answers the question, and there is a very real question to answer. The Times has quoted the opinion of a "high-ranking ISI official" that "There is no question that 7/7 could have and should have been stopped. British agencies did not follow some of the information we gave to them."

The answer may well be that Operation Crevice wasn't really a counter-terrorist operation at all. It appears that the original intention was to infiltrate certain radical Islamist groups and that the identification of the Fertiliser Bomb plot came about entirely by accident as a result of a tip-off from a member of the public. Th suspicion was therefore that the Security Services didn't identify Mohammad Sidique Khan as a potential terrorist, because they were not looking for potential terrorists, and they were not looking for potential terrorists because they did not regard any of the hotheads they were following as being capable of doing any damage.

8. The Mysterious Q

Finally we come to the subjec of the mysterious Q. During the trial there were a number of references to the mysterious man known only as 'Q', the Mr Fixit of radical Islamism in Britain.

When questioned about Q's identity Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke of the Metropolitan Police replied, "I know who `Q' is but I'm not going to discuss who he is or what he is, or what he does". Nevertheless the British media have unanimously and quite openly identified him as Mohammed Quayyum Khan. He remains at liberty in the United Kingdom. He has never been arrested nor indeed has he ever been questioned about any alleged offences whatsoever.

Which is odd to say the least
Posted: Mar 8 2008, 11:25 AM

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QUOTE (numeral @ Mar 7 2008, 09:17 PM)

Hi justthefacts

Is that Cherie with an asp?

Hi numeral,

Asp a silly question...... biggrin.gif

This post has been edited by justthefacts on Mar 8 2008, 11:26 AM
Posted: Apr 21 2008, 09:08 PM

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Joined: 6-November 06

Terror raid on house in Reading

31/ 3/2004

A SHOCKED landlady found herself caught up in a massive anti-terrorism operation yesterday when her West Reading home was raided.

The woman was stunned when police stormed her semi-detached house in Grovelands Road during one of 24 simultaneous dawn raids across the South East yesterday.

It is believed they were searching for a lodger who originated from Luton but he was not there. No one was arrested and Scotland Yard has refused to say anything about why the woman's home was targeted.

In another of yesterday's raids, police found half a tonne of ammonium nitrate fertiliser, which experts say is a key bomb-making component, in a storage centre in Hanwell, west London.Eight men - all British citizens of Pakistani descent - were arrested.

There was speculation that the Reading target - who's thought to only stay in town occasionally - was one of the eight, but Scotland Yard has not confirmed this.

Anti-terrorist detectives believe an al Qaida-supporting cell had been plotting a "spectacular" attack.

The landlady works as a bus driver for Crown Wheelchair Travel Limited, which ferries children with disabilities to schools in Reading. Yesterday the woman's boss and her neighbours spoke of their shock at the raid.

Crown owner Ali Barkat said: "She is a very nice person. We have known her for quite a few years.

"She is off work. She rang us and said she was not coming in.

"She was worried about the police in there. I said for her to sort it out and later we tried to ring her but she did not answer the phone."

There was no answer at the woman's two-storey semi-detached home yesterday.

Neighbours told how police vans pulled up at the entrance to the woman's drive just before 6am yesterday and stormed the house.

Joey Baynham, 19, said: "There was a riot van and forensics people bringing bags out and police on the door.

"We just thought it was a drugs raid. We did not realise it was connected to the terrorism raids.

"It was a bit of a shock."

Another neighbour on the busy West Reading through route said: "The house was sold about a year ago, maybe last summer.

"I do not know them and do not see them very much.

"I could tell you who lives in the other houses but we don't know who they are.

"They keep themselves to themselves.

"There were just lots of police."

Police stood guard at the woman's home until late morning, when a carpenter arrived to fix her damaged front door.

Yesterday's operation was masterminded by the Metropolitan Police but a spokeswoman was not releasing any details about the Grovelands raid.

About 150 Thames Valley Police staff were involved in the raid in Reading and two in Slough but for much of yesterday Scotland Yard blocked the force from revealing any details. Continued from front page Eight men - all British citizens of Pakistani descent - were arrested.

There was speculation that the Reading target - who's thought to only stay in town occasionally - was one of the eight, but Scotland Yard has not confirmed this.


Terror raid has ruined my life

1/ 4/2004

THE Reading landlady who was innocently caught up in one of Britain’s biggest-ever terror crackdowns has told of the terrifying moment when 20 police officers raided her home.

Speaking exclusively to the Evening Post from her Grovelands Road home, Samantha Shannon described how officers looking for her Pakistani lodger ripped up floorboards and searched her hot water tank while she watched in terror.

Visibly shaken by the ordeal, the 32-year-old says she will never recover from the ordeal which left her and her other lodger, a 17-year-old boy, cowering in the dining room.

Miss Shannon spoke to the Evening Post last night from the front room of the tidy semi-detached home she bought just 15 months ago, curled up with her black cat Munkei.

The front door still shows part of the round mark where officers used a battering ram to burst into the house at 6am on Tuesday as part of a simultaneous crackdown on 24 other properties across the South East.

The Reading raid turned up nothing and police have confirmed it was nothing to do with Miss Shannon who is a transport escort for disabled children. Although the lodger was picked up by police in Luton [six properties were raided in Luton including two belonging to Salahuddin Amin] in one of the other raids, he was not arrested or detained.

Miss Shannon said: “I didn’t fully understand what the word surreal meant until a few days ago. They have ruined my life. I’ll never be able to get over this – I’m a nervous wreck.

“On Monday evening I went to bed thinking the world was a lovely place and then I woke up to this.”

“My house was stormed, overtaken by police. I woke up to see policeman at my bedroom door. Me and my other lodger were told to sit in the dining room while about 20 other police and forensic officers ripped up the floorboards in my lodger’s bedroom, went through the immersion tank and took photographs.

“They’d closed part of the road off, and I had officers at my front and back door. All my neighbours saw what was going on.

“I was asking for a search warrant, I watch enough TV to know they need one, and they showed me one saying they were acting on behalf of the Metropolitian Police under the Terrorism Act 2000.

“I was like ‘Jesus Christ’. I was half-expecting Jeremy Beadle to turn up.”

After the raid, Miss Shannon went to friends, and saw her home thrust into the media spotlight on TV and in the papers.

Returning on Tuesday night, she found the lodger – who police have told her not to name – standing on the landing at the top of the stairs.

Not knowing whether he should be there or not, she fled the house and called police.

She said: “I was on the understanding he was one of the eight that have been detained and I told them I didn’t want him back. But I got back here at 11pm on Tuesday night and he was here.

“I fled the house and the police told me at midnight he was in the clear.”

She added that her lodger, an IT worker who is back at work today at a reputable Reading company and is in his late 20s or early 30s – was a quiet man.

She said: “He is very, very polite, well dressed and well mannered.

“I thought it better to have someone like that rather than someone who is into rap music and bringing girls home all the time – I was as surprised as anybody by this.

“But we had a chat and I realised he was as upset as I was – he was not the person they were looking for.”

Miss Shannon, who is Reading born and bred, now wants to rebuild her life and reassure her neighbours that her house was an innocent target.

She says she is the responsible adult on buses taking care of children with special needs travelling to and from school.

She said: “I just want to clear my name and this house of anything to do with terrorism of any description.”

“My house has been in near enough every national newspaper and on every TV news bulletin.

“I didn’t even know the true extent of what was going on here until the police sat me down in front of the news on Tuesday and I heard the

newsreader say police had launched their biggest anti-terrorist action since the days of the IRA – with that I completely fell apart.

“They kept reassuring me it was nothing to do with me but it’s the aftermath I am upset about.

“Nobody [the police] has turned around and said it was nothing to do with me or my lodger, that it was just part of their enquiries, a case of mistaken identity or whatever it was.”

“Any information about what’s happened since has been because I kept ringing them. They’re still not telling me anything about why my house was raided. And I have not even had a ‘sorry’.”

Posted: Apr 22 2008, 09:05 AM

Group: Members
Posts: 1,399
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Returning on Tuesday night, she found the lodger – who police have told her not to name – standing on the landing at the top of the stairs.

I'd like to know what his name is.
Posted: Apr 22 2008, 11:19 PM

Group: J7 Forum Team
Posts: 6,955
Member No.: 235
Joined: 6-November 06

QUOTE (indisguise @ Apr 22 2008, 09:05 AM)
Returning on Tuesday night, she found the lodger – who police have told her not to name – standing on the landing at the top of the stairs.

I'd like to know what his name is.

A little more information comes your way:

'BOMB PLOT' ARRESTS: BRAIN WASHED ; Extremists led son astray, claim family
The Daily Mirror (London); Apr 1, 2004; JUSTINE SMITH, ALEX WILLIAMS; p. 8


Al-Muhajiroun leader in Luton Sayful Islam yesterday claimed police were "terrorising Muslims" after homes in the town were raided in Tuesday's swoop.

Anti-terror officers were last night given more time to question the eight suspects, aged between 17 and 32. They can spend up to two weeks interrogating the group before either charging or releasing them.

A man quizzed but not arrested during the raids claimed he works for the Government Security Intranet website which carries classified Whitehall information.

He was questioned by police at his mother's house in Luton. The man, who rents a room in Reading, Berks, said he has MoD security clearance and has signed the Official Secrets Act. He claimed: "It was terrifying. Police told me it was a case of mistaken identity."

This post has been edited by amirrortotheenemy on Apr 22 2008, 11:23 PM
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