Writer and broadcaster
As Britain's outspoken
Ambassador to the Central Asian Republic of Uzbekistan, Craig Murray
helped expose vicious human rights abuses by the US-funded regime
of Islam Karimov. He is now a prominent critic of Western policy
in the region.
August 14, 2006
The UK Terror plot: what's really
I have been reading very
carefully through all the Sunday newspapers to try and analyse the
truth from all the scores of pages claiming to detail the so-called
bomb plot. Unlike the great herd of so-called security experts doing
the media analysis, I have the advantage of having had the very
highest security clearances myself, having done a huge amount of
professional intelligence analysis, and having been inside the spin
So this, I believe, is
the true story.
None of the alleged terrorists
had made a bomb. None had bought a plane ticket. Many did not even
have passports, which given the efficiency of the UK Passport Agency
would mean they couldn't be a plane bomber for quite some time.
In the absence of bombs
and airline tickets, and in many cases passports, it could be pretty
difficult to convince a jury beyond reasonable doubt that individuals
intended to go through with suicide bombings, whatever rash stuff
they may have bragged in internet chat rooms.
What is more, many of
those arrested had been under surveillance for over a year - like
thousands of other British Muslims. And not just Muslims. Like me.
Nothing from that surveillance had indicated the need for early
Then an interrogation
in Pakistan revealed the details of this amazing plot to blow up
multiple planes - which, rather extraordinarily, had not turned
up in a year of surveillance. Of course, the interrogators of the
Pakistani dictator have their ways of making people sing like canaries.
As I witnessed in Uzbekistan, you can get the most extraordinary
information this way. Trouble is it always tends to give the interrogators
all they might want, and more, in a desperate effort to stop or
avert torture. What it doesn't give is the truth.
The gentleman being "interrogated"
had fled the UK after being wanted for questioning over the murder
of his uncle some years ago. That might be felt to cast some doubt
on his reliability. It might also be felt that factors other than
political ones might be at play within these relationships. Much
is also being made of large transfers of money outside the formal
economy. Not in fact too unusual in the British Muslim community,
but if this activity is criminal, there are many possibilities that
have nothing to do with terrorism.
We then have the extraordinary
question of Bush and Blair discussing the possible arrests over
the weekend. Why? I think the answer to that is plain. Both in desperate
domestic political trouble, they longed for "Another 9/11".
The intelligence from Pakistan, however dodgy, gave them a new 9/11
they could sell to the media. The media has bought, wholesale, all
the rubbish they have been shovelled.
We then have the appalling
political propaganda of John Reid, Home Secretary, making a speech
warning us all of the dreadful evil threatening us and complaining
that "Some people don't get" the need to abandon all our
traditional liberties. He then went on, according to his own propaganda
machine, to stay up all night and minutely direct the arrests. There
could be no clearer evidence that our Police are now just a political
tool. Like all the best nasty regimes, the knock on the door came
in the middle of the night, at 2.30am. Those arrested included a
mother with a six week old baby.
For those who don't know,
it is worth introducing Reid. A hardened Stalinist with a long term
reputation for personal violence, at Stirling Univeristy he was
the Communist Party's "Enforcer", (in days when the Communist
Party ran Stirling University Students' Union, which it should not
be forgotten was a business with a very substantial cash turnover).
Reid was sent to beat up those who deviated from the Party line.
We will now never know
if any of those arrested would have gone on to make a bomb or buy
a plane ticket. Most of them do not fit the "Loner" profile
you would expect - a tiny percentage of suicide bombers have happy
marriages and young children. As they were all under surveillance,
and certainly would have been on airport watch lists, there could
have been little danger in letting them proceed closer to maturity
- that is certainly what we would have done with the IRA.
In all of this, the one
thing of which I am certain is that the timing is deeply political.
This is more propaganda than plot. Of the over one thousand British
Muslims arrested under anti-terrorist legislation, only twelve per
cent are ever charged with anything. That is simply harrassment
of Muslims on an appalling scale. Of those charged, 80% are acquitted.
Most of the very few - just over two per cent of arrests - who are
convicted, are not convicted of anything to do terrorism, but of
some minor offence the Police happened upon while trawling through
the wreck of the lives they had shattered.
Be sceptical. Be very,