The Sunday Times is, in many respects, an excellent newspaper, but either they are institutionally gullible, or they have made a pact with the devil, and they regularly publish "leaked" stories from "anonymous" Police/Security Services/Home Office etc. sources, which can only be described as disinformation which appears to support the NuLabour "Climate of Fear" propaganda agenda.
This week's front page insult to their readers' intelligence and memories:
'Police foil gas attack on Commons
David Leppard and Robert Winnett
August 21, 2005
SCOTLAND YARD believes it has thwarted an Al-Qaeda gas attack aimed at ministers and MPs in parliament. The plot, hatched last year, is understood to have been discovered in coded e-mails on computers seized from terror suspects in Britain and Pakistan."'
Presumably this is referring to the arrests and charges ofDhiren Barot, Mohammed Naveed Bhatti, Abdul Aziz Jalil, Omar Abdul Rehman, Junade Feroze, Zia Ul Haq, Qaisar Shaffi and Nadeem Tarmohammed over a year ago ?
One would have expected the Sunday Times to have reminded its readers that any such emails, especially encrypted emails, are not admissable as evidence in a UK Court, as set out in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, section 17 Exclusion of matters from legal proceedings which was specifically included in the Act at the request of the intelligence agencies.
Email "evidence" is almost trivially easy to fake, especially if you have the resources of GCHQ to hand, so even if the rules on the admissability of such "electronic intercepts" are relaxed in the future, as the politicians of the main political parties seem to be agreed upon,, they are still not enough on their own to counter a defence of "reasonable doubt", especially where the terrorist suspects allege a plot against them by the security authorities.
'Police and MI5 then identified an Al-Qaeda cell that had carried out extensive research and video-recorded reconnaissance missions in preparation for the attack.'
The "reconnaissance" files recovered from the computers which were seized, were over 3 years old (now over 4 years old) at the time of the arrests. The media spin at the time involved Heathrow Airport, London Underground, and only mentioned the Houses of Parliament as speculation that "cultural" targets might be at risk.
'The encrypted e-mails are said to have been decoded with the help of an Al-Qaeda “supergrass”. By revealing the terrorists’ code he was also able to help MI5 and GCHQ, the government’s eavesdropping centre at Cheltenham, to crack several more plots."'
Presumably Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan, who is probably still in custody in Pakistan, and whose naming by President Bush's asministration officials was used to justify the unecessary increase in the state of alert in the New York and Washington financial districts. This appears to have been a cynical political ploy to salvage a few opinion poll rating points directly after Senator Kerry's Democrat Party Convention during the US Presidential Election campaign.
'"The discovery of the suspected Commons nerve gas plot was behind the decision to increase security around parliament this summer."'
But not last summer 2004 ?
'A senior officer said that the scheme had led to the intervention of Eliza Manningham-Buller, head of MI5, to assess parliament’s security.'
As opposed to the review of security in and around Parliament which lead to the installation of "Peter Hain's Folly", the multi-million pound "security screen" which was supposed to isolate the Commons Chmanber from the Public Gallery ? The one which failed to prevent the "purple flour" incident, and the "it might be anthrax, so let's ignore the agreed security procedures, and wander aimlessly about and infect the rest of the building and the rest of London"" debacle led by the Speaker on the 19th of May 2004 ?
'The operation to deter the sarin gas attack is referred to in an internal police document obtained by The Sunday Times.
It is a minute of a meeting of senior police officers held last month at Specialist Operations 17 (SO17), the unit responsible for protecting parliament, and reveals that the team were waiting to be briefed on the plot.'
Why has it taken 11 months to brief SO17 on this alleged plot ?
'This weekend a senior officer disclosed that the thwarted plot mentioned in the document involved a gas or chemical "dirty bomb" attack against parliament. "The House of Commons was one of their targets as well as the Tube," he said.
"They were planning to use chemicals, a dirty bomb and sarin gas. They looked at all sorts of ways of delivering it."'
What "sarin gas" ?
There nave been no reports of the seizure of any pre-cursor chemicals nor of any actual nerve gas.
There have been no reports even of any "sting" operation where anyone from theis alleged Al Queda cell was caught even atempting to obtain such chemicals.
None of the suspects charged in August 2004, were charged with possession of any suchnerve gas or chemicals or radioactive material or explosives or bomb making equipment.
That does not count as "thwarting" a real, viable plot.
It could imply that police and intelligence agency resources are being wasted on "electronic chatter" and disinformation being spread by Al Quaeda sympathisers, whilst the real terrorists, such as those behind the July attacks in London remain totally undetected.
'But despite the successful police operation and upgraded security measures, senior officers are worried that security at the houses of parliament remains "unacceptable".
The police security memo, drawn up after the July 7 attacks, reveals high-level fears that suicide terrorists could use a black cab or a visit to an exhibition to mark the 400th anniversary of the gunpowder plot.'
Presumably they will now arrest Guido Fawkes for "Thought Crimes" regarding the 5th of November.
'It discloses that a military unit — said to have been special forces — recently carried out a secret examination of security at the House of Commons. It is believed that the exercise highlighted the ease with which terrorists could kill dozens of MPs in the debating chamber.'
So what ?
As we stated at the time of the "Fathers4Justice" purple flour incident, the best protection that Members of Parliament and the Government have, is the principle that the terrorists caa never hope to win by killing any of these public servants. We the British public will simply elect new politicians, in spite of any terrorists etc.
'(It was) felt all SO17 contingency plans should be reviewed against the new threat — a plan for a Kratos (suicide bomber) incident was required,” the minutes record. A senior officer said that he "felt particular attention should be paid to cabs entering the (parliamentary) estate".''The memo records: "(A senior official) expressed grave concern at the shortage of security officers. He was worried that commitments such as the forthcoming exhibition on the gunpowder plot just could not be covered. He felt that an unacceptable number of posts were being closed down."'
Why are "black cabs" suddenly more of a risk than they were during the Northern Irish terrorist campaigns, which actually did use "black cabs" for murders, as targets (the drivers often got murdered) and as actaul car bombs ? One of the last car bombs in London was an old taxi detonated outside the BBC complex in White City by the Real IRA in March 2001 ? Why have there been no restrictions on taxis entering the Parliamentary Estate since then ?
We do not blame the Sunday Times for trying to make a story out of this supposedly leaked memo, but their analysis and the background context information which they have failed to supply their readers with, is utterly dismal.