Abu Bakr Mansha (IQ 69) is claimed to be the "reliable intelligence source" behind the bungled Operation Volga raid in Forest Gate

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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 He is currently serving 6 years in prison for the "thought crime" of possessing the out of date address of a serving British soldier and Iraq war hero, written on a copy of The Sun newspaper, under the controversial Terrorism Act 2000 Section 58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."

[...]

We agree with the private sector intelligence analyst and media pundit Lt. Col. Crispin Black MBE



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 ?

12 Comments

"Exclusives" in the Independent and Mirror report that the police’s "reliable" intelligence source for the Lansdown Road raid and subsequent on-going fiasco, was a 22-year-old ex-waiter (currently convicted terrorist on shaky evidence) with an IQ of 69. Sounds like Abu Bakr Mansha was not the only retard in this sorry affair. One of the questions the police are said to have put to the Muslim Brothers was: "Are you a member of the KKK? Does KKK stand for Keystone Kops or am I thinking of the Metropolitan Police? Keep this nonsense up and the Women's Institute will be classed as a terrorist organisation and stamp collecting will be cause for extreme suspicion, especially when referred to as "philately". Surely Ian Blair can’t survive this latest proof of incompetence. Trust he will soon be spending more time with his family. Lucky them.

@ Andrew -The Independent on Sunday and the Sunday Telegraph both carry stories which quote the Sunday Mirror exclusive.

Sir Ian Blair has kept very quiet over the Forest Gate mess, so he can probably shift the blame away from himself, which is presumably what some of the media spin and briefings have all been about.

One of my rules is not to trust tabloid scoops, so I'll wait for a bit of corroboration. Given that MI5 have had the run of the Murdoch tabloids, this could be the Met getting their own back.

It does sound very likely though, given previous incidents. To a long list of unintended consequences of crap terrorist legislation can be added 'makes MI5 think that random nutters are expert terrorists who should be showered with gifts in return for talking'.

BTW, it was his own *defence* who called him incompetent.

The MPA has issued a press release where it states it asked the MPS Commissioner for a full report into the issues surrounding the police operation at Forest Gate.

Now whether this report be made public is anyone's guess. The one they got for my arrest was obtained in confidence and I only got a copy of it by doing a further data subject access with the Met specifically asking for it.

Have linked to this from my blog

INTERESTING BLOG - JUST BORROWED A LITTLE SNIPPET OF INFO FROM U
HAVE A LOOK AT MY BLOG.

"Are you a member of the Ku Klux Klan?" - could this be a control question for polygraph or voice stress analysis? Or does someone want people to think that these techniques are in use? Or am I attributing to malice that which can reasonably be explained by stupidity?

If the anti-terrorist police are relying on unreliable technology like "voice stress analysis" then the safety of the country is at risk.

Any more so than if they carry out armed raids and shoot people based only on one source of 'specific intelligence' with an IQ 69?

The courts will never accept polygraph or voice stress analysis, but who knows what is acceptable as a source of intelligence. Or maybe this speculation is what they are trying to provoke - either amoung the people they regard as suspects or more generally.

The humour genre offers some protection, as if a writer that takes himself too seriously, objects, you can always respond with: "Where's your sense of humour, Mein Herr?"
So another shot at humour: A retard with an IQ score of 69 has single-handed humiliated the Metropolitan Police Service. But enough about "Sir" Ian Blair.
I should have quit when I was ahead, but anyway:
Perhaps Abu Bakr Mansha is a lot smarter than his IQ score suggests. There he is languishing in maximum security for essentially "thought crime". He needs to bring his case to public attention to get a favourable retrial. So here's the plan:
"Listen Mr. Policeman, sir. I can tell give to you some red-hot intelligence information, yes, about No.1 terrorist for the United Kingdom of England. He is my name Tony the Torturer and he live in the very secret cave in, you know, of London, England. Just like Batman and Robin, but he’s a straight. And he is so naughty, bad man, effendi. You got it? Right underneath the No.10 of the Downing Street. Who would never think of to look there? This guy kills the huge great numbers innocent peoples, but he look seems a big smile 100% nice guy, you know. But you do not be fooled, huh.”
Now that’s a far better tip than last time.

The BBC now reports that Mansha denies being the source of the intelligence which prompted this raid - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/5112388.stm

@ Nur Mi -
This is a sub-standard BBC report, which includes at least one factual error.

Since Abu Bakr Mansha was in prison during the weeks before the raid on 2nd June, it seems unlikely that he could have known any details of about the alleged "chemical device", which seems to have triggered the hasty raid, unless his prison visitors (which the Sunday Mirror article does not claim were actually the two brothers involved in the Lansdowne Road raid, but presumably were mutual friends or aquaintances) discussed it with him.

At a guess, all of Abu Bakr Mansha's family, friends, co-workers and people attending any Mosque he has visited are under suspicion - "guilt by association".

Where all the "chemical device" stuff came from, and why it was considered at all likely, is shrouded in secrecy and media spin.

Was the same "intelligence source" who led to the arrest and conviction of Abu Bakr Mansha in the first place, also involved in the Forest Gate raid ?

Are the same sort of mistakes made in Northern Ireland, with respect to Covert Human Intelligence sources, now being repeated in East London ?

This BBC report also manages to claim that

Mansha was jailed for six years in January for plotting to kill a soldier decorated for his service in Iraq.

However, the BBC report on 26th January 2006, quoted Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith :

Sentencing Mansha, he told him: "You have never faced a charge for conspiracy to kill or cause harm and I do not sentence you for that, but when that information came into your possession and was recorded for you, you crossed the boundary into terrorism."

Since Abu Bakr Mansha's appeal against this sentence, under the Terrorism Act 2000 section 58 Collection of information is due to be heard next month, his lawyers are hardly going to issue a statement claiming that he did have knowledge of a terrorist plot, of any sort, are they ?

Will the public ever get told the truth about the obvious errors made before and during the Forest Gate raid ?

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UK Legislation

The United Kingdom suffers from tens of thousands of pages of complicated criminal laws, and thousands of new, often unenforceable criminal offences, which have been created as a "Pretend to be Seen to Be Doing Something" response to tabloid media hype and hysteria, and political social engineering dogmas. These overbroad, catch-all laws, which remove the scope for any judicial appeals process, have been rubber stamped, often without being read, let alone properly understood, by Members of Parliament.

The text of many of these Acts of Parliament are now online, but it is still too difficult for most people, including the police and criminal justice system, to work out the cumulative effect of all the amendments, even for the most serious offences involving national security or terrorism or serious crime.

Many MPs do not seem to bother to even to actually read the details of the legislation which they vote to inflict on us.

UK Legislation Links

UK Statute Law Database - is the official revised edition of the primary legislation of the United Kingdom made available online, but it is not yet up to date.

UK Commissioners

UK Commissioners some of whom are meant to protect your privacy and investigate abuses by the bureaucrats.

UK Intelligence Agencies

Intelligence and Security Committee - the supposedly independent Parliamentary watchdog which issues an annual, heavily censored Report every year or so. Currently chaired by the Conservative Sir Malcolm Rifkind. Why should either the intelligence agencies or the public trust this committee, when the untrustworthy ex-Labour Minister Hazel Blears is a member ?

Anti-terrorism hotline - links removed in protest at the Climate of Fear propaganda posters

MI5 Security Service
MI5 Security Service - links to encrypted reporting form removed in protest at the Climate of Fear propaganda posters

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Secure Your Fertiliser - advice on ammonium nitrate and urea fertiliser security

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Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure - "CPNI provides expert advice to the critical national infrastructure on physical, personnel and information security, to protect against terrorism and other threats."

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Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) recruitment.

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Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ

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National Crime Agency - the replacement for the Serious Organised Crime Agency

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Defence Advisory (DA) Notice system - voluntary self censorship by the established UK press and broadcast media regarding defence and intelligence topics via the Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee.

Foreign Spies / Intelliegence Agencies in the UK

It is not just the UK government which tries to snoop on British companies, organisations and individuals, the rest of the world is constantly trying to do the same, regardless of the mixed efforts of our own UK Intelligence Agencies who are paid to supposedly protect us from them.

For no good reason, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office only keeps the current version of the London Diplomatic List of accredited Diplomats (including some Foreign Intelligence Agency operatives) online.

Presumably every mainstream media organisation, intelligence agency, serious organised crime or terrorist gang keeps historical copies, so here are some older versions of the London Diplomatic List, for the benefit of web search engine queries, for those people who do not want their visits to appear in the FCO web server logfiles or those whose censored internet feeds block access to UK Government websites.

Campaign Button Links

Watching Them, Watching Us - UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign
UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign

NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card and National Identity Register centralised database.

Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.
Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.

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FreeFarid.com - Kafkaesque extradition of Farid Hilali under the European Arrest Warrant to Spain

Peaceful resistance to the curtailment of our rights to Free Assembly and Free Speech in the SOCPA Designated Area around Parliament Square and beyond
Parliament Protest blog - resistance to the Designated Area restricting peaceful demonstrations or lobbying in the vicinity of Parliament.

Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans
Data Retention is No Solution - Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans.

Save Parliament: Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)
Save Parliament - Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)

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Open Rights Group

The Big Opt Out Campaign - opt out of having your NHS Care Record medical records and personal details stored insecurely on a massive national centralised database.

Tor - the onion routing network
Tor - the onion routing network - "Tor aims to defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal anonymity and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security. Communications are bounced around a distributed network of servers called onion routers, protecting you from websites that build profiles of your interests, local eavesdroppers that read your data or learn what sites you visit, and even the onion routers themselves."

Tor - the onion routing network
Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress and Tor - useful Guide published by Global Voices Advocacy with step by step software configuration screenshots (updated March 10th 2009).

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Amnesty International's irrepressible.info campaign

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BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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NGO in a box - Security Edition privacy and security software tools

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Home Office Watch blog, "a single repository of all the shambolic errors and mistakes made by the British Home Office compiled from Parliamentary Questions, news reports, and tip-offs by the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs team."

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Reporters Without Borders - Reporters Sans Frontières - campaign for journalists 'and bloggers' freedom in repressive countries and war zones.

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Committee to Protect Bloggers - "devoted to the protection of bloggers worldwide with a focus on highlighting the plight of bloggers threatened and imprisoned by their government."

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Icelanders are NOT terrorists ! - despite Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling's use of anti-terrorism legislation to seize the assets of Icelandic banks.

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No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV

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I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !

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Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign

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Cracking the Black Box - "aims to expose technology that is being used in inappropriate ways. We hope to bring together the insights of experts and whistleblowers to shine a light into the dark recesses of systems that are responsible for causing many of the privacy problems faced by millions of people."

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Open Rights Group - Petition against the renewal of the Interception Modernisation Programme

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WhistleblowersUK.org - Fighting for justice for whistleblowers