Abu Bakr Mansha is back in the news. He is currently serving 6 years in prison for the "thought crime" of possessing the out of date address of a serving British soldier and Iraq war hero, written on a copy of The Sun newspaper, under the controversial Terrorism Act 2000 Section 58 Collection of information - he was not convicted of any actual threatening behavior or possession of weapons or of conspiracy with other people etc.
Today The Sunday Mirror has a story which links the "educationally subnormal with an IQ of 69" Abu Bakr Mansha
with the botched Operation Volga police raid on the house in Forest Gate, in East London, which failed to find any evidence of any "chemical device" and led to the arrest brothers Abul Koyair and Abul Kaha (who was shot in the shoulder during the raid), who are described as childhood friends of Abu Bakr Mansha.
The directed surveillance operation by either the Metropolitan Police or the Security Service MI5, also appears to have been bungled, "Everyone knew about the surveillance - children were knocking on car windows asking officers who they were watching"
The Sunday Mirror article:
"EXCLUSIVE: WAS M15 TRIGGER FOR BUNGLED TERROR SWOOP.. A PRISONER WITH I.Q. OF 69 By Susie Boniface Sunday Mirror 18th June 2006
MAN with an IQ of just 69 is believed to be the trigger behind the bungled terror raid in Forest Gate, East London.
Ex-waiter Mohammed Abu Bakr Mansha, 22, was a childhood pal of the two brothers arrested in the dawn swoop by police two weeks ago.
In January he was jailed for six years for terror offences - and even described in court as an "utter incompetent".
Soon afterwards, friends of brothers Abul Kahar, 23, and Abul Koyair, 20, visited him at top-security Belmarsh, South-East London.
And, the Sunday Mirror has learned, that meeting sparked a surveillance operation on the men by the security services. According to a friend of the brothers, they laughed at constantly being followed. Our source said: "It was so obvious we treated it as a joke."
Then new information came through, said to include detailed drawings of a suicide vest.
That led to Operation Volga - the botched police operation to arrest the brothers, which led to Kahar being shot. After seven days in custody they were released without charge amid claims of incompetence and brutality.
Friends of the men believe dim Mansha was the trigger for the extraordinary operation.
Mansha's lawyer Sara O'Keefe revealed how her client was moved just before the raid from high-security category 'A' Belmarsh to a softer category 'B' jail. She did not know why he got the favourable treatment, or whether he unwittingly helped MI5. Told that the brothers knew they were being followed she said: "That sounds about right."
How sooner before the raid on 2nd June was he moved ?
Presumably it is easier to infilitrate or recruit undercover informants who might have gained the confidence of Abu Bakr Mansha in a category B prison, rather than in the high-security category 'A' Belmarsh.
How reeliable any information so gleaned, is questionable.
Mansha - serving six years for possessing an old address of a British Army war hero, which police suspected was part of a terror plot - is appealing against his sentence. His trial revealed him to be educationally subnormal with an IQ of 69 - compared to the average of 100. In the US that would make his court evidence unreliable.
Police and intelligence officials claim the information was from a reliable single source who knew the brothers and whom the security services had dealt with before.
A friend of the brothers said they'd grown up with Mansha. He said: "We used to play in the street. Abu was strange. He'd suddenly lose it. Once while playing street football, he got upset as no one passed to him. He took out a gun and went pop, pop, pop." He added: "Once I saw him pee in the eye of a man lying on the floor, for fun. I've seen him do all sorts, bad things, because he's a nutter - but he's no al-Qaeda bomber. He needs help, not banging up. A few guys visited him in jail. I didn't go as I didn't like him, but suddenly Kahar and Koyair were being followed. It was so obvious we all treated it like a joke. Maybe if I'd gone too they'd have raided my house and shot me. It's a f***ing outrage."
Ex-intelligence analyst Crispin Black, who is investigating the case, said: "To think that a prisoner with an IQ of 69 could be at the centre of this operation is sheer lunacy. If this is the 'intelligence' trigger for the raid it shows something has gone seriously wrong. Everyone knew about the surveillance - children were knocking on car windows asking officers who they were watching. If they were terrorists, they had plenty of warning. They also arrested them at home, where they could be near an explosive device, rather than at work.
"Making intelligence judgements is their core skill. If they don't do it properly it's depressing.
"Police and security services must now be open and honest, and tell us what this '' intelligence was and why they acted the way they did. Without that - and with the brothers' very believable testimony - we're left with public cynicism which will' make it harder to trap terrorists."
We are still astonished that it supposedly took 250 police officers to conduct this pre-dawn raid, especially as they did not bother to evacuate any of the neighbours, whilst allegedly looking for a "chemical weapon / device" or other explosive device. In what way was that "putting the safety of the public first" ?
Given the media spin and disinformation which was inflicted on the public after this raid, with the blame being ping ponged between MI5 and the Metropolitan Police via selected media briefings and leaks, and the meddling of local politicians, will we ever be told the truth ?
Why are the British Government and anti-terrorism authorities losing the propaganda war against terrorism in this way ?