A piece by Alisdair Palmer in todays Telegraph, designed to make us all choke.

The Law Lords have ruled that nine of Britain's most dangerous men should be freed – without being shown the secret material against them. But, as Alasdair Palmer reveals, the 'open evidence' paints a frightening enough picture of the serious threat they pose

They are alleged to be the most dangerous men in Britain. Some among them have been found to "provide active support to a network of extreme Islamists planning attacks in the UK and Western Europe, including the use of toxic poisons". Others have actively raised funds for terrorist operations, trained so that they can take part in them, and have exhorted and encouraged others to do so.

High Court judges exhaustively reviewed the evidence collected by the Home Office against these men. They have all been found to have links to al-Qaeda, an organisation that explicitly states that "to kill Americans and their allies – civilian and military – is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country which it is possible to do it".

They are, of course, the nine men detained without trial in HM Prison Belmarsh. The Government says it cannot try the men because, to do so, would compromise its sources within the terrorist network.

The Special Immigration Appeals Committee, the organisation that reviews whether the Home Office is justified in detaining the men without trial under the security and anti-terrorism legislation, is in no doubt: the men, if left at liberty, would pose a serious threat to the security of Britain.

The Law Lords, however, have ruled that the law under which they have been detained is "discriminatory", because it applies only to foreigners, and so is a violation of their rights under the Human Rights Act. The law, the Law Lords ruled, is incompatible with the Human Rights Act, which has legislative priority. The effect has been to force the Government to release them from Belmarsh.

The Government now says it hopes to be able to introduce legislation that will enable the men to be detained under some form of house arrest. It is, however, very striking that in at least one case, SIAC considered that option – and dismissed it because it would not prevent the individual from continuing to pose a serious threat. "Suffice it to say," SIAC ruled, "no conditions, whether involving tagging or restrictions on the use of phones, could remove the

danger which [this individual] represents. We are sure we would find ways to continue his support and to assist the terrorist cause."

It is difficult for anyone to deny credibly that the men have been involved in terrorist activity - and, indeed, the Law Lords did not try to do so. The detainee referred to as "A", for example, has been a close associate of Abu Doha, the man known to have been involved in planning a bombing to disrupt millennium celebrations in the US (he is in custody in Britain awaiting extradition to America).

"A" and Abu Doha bought satellite phones worth £229,265 in Britain – which they paid for

in cash – and for which they provided a false "end-user certificate": they claimed the phones would be used by a charity that did not exist. All contacts with the company that sold them the phones were made under pseudonyms. Satellite phones play an important part in planning attacks. The Home Office insists "terrorist support activity is a vital part of the ability of terrorist networks to plan, finance and execute significant terrorist operations… planning attacks involves communications between different countries and even different continents. Communication with other members of the network… requires communications equipment".

This and other evidence led SIAC to conclude that A has "the intent, capability and would, if at liberty in Britain, have the opportunity to provide vital support" to the Islamist terrorist network.

Another detainee, "K", is also accused of being "a senior associate of Abu Doha", and of "providing active support for a network of extreme Islamists planning to carry out attacks in the UK, including the use of toxic poisons". K was linked to the flat in Wood Green, north London, that was searched by the Metropolitan Police in January 2003, and where "toxic chemicals for terrorist use" were being prepared. He provided materials for the fabrication of false documents, including credit cards, and had a false Belgian passport himself. He said the false documentation belonged to "Djamel". When "Djamel" was traced and arrested, he was carrying a document in Arabic on the production of poisons, explosives and electronic circuits. SIAC agreed with the Home Office that K's extensive extreme Islamist contacts, his experience in providing logistical support, and his ability to obtain fraudulent documentation in order to evade detection meant that he would pose a significant threat to UK national security were he at liberty".

Then there is the case of Abu Qatada. He arrived in Britain on a forged passport in 1993. He has been convicted in absentia in Jordan, his country of citizenship, for his involvement in terrorist attacks there in 1998, and for a plot to plant bombs to explode on the Millennium. He applied for indefinite leave to remain in Britain in 1998 – an application that has still not yet been decided. When he was arrested under the Anti-terrorism Act, he was carrying more than £170,000 in cash. A further £805 was in an envelope marked "for the mujahidin in Chechnya".

Abu Qatada makes no secret of his commitment to violent jihad. As a preacher, he has advocated the killing of Jews, and the women and children "of apostates". He has also insisted that Americans should be attacked wherever they are and that there is "no difference between English, Jews and Americans".

Abu Qatada has been closely involved with several other individuals and groups known to be involved in al-Qaeda terrorism. Abu Dahdah is one of them: he was arrested in Spain in November 2001, on the grounds that he had recruited volunteers to carry out al-Qaeda-planned attacks, and had provided false documentation and safe refuge for them. Ansar al-Islam is a militant Islamic group working directly with al-Qaeda to attack Americans and their supporters in Iraq. One captured member has said that his training for a suicide-bombing mission included listening to tapes by Abu Qatada. SIAC was "satisfied that [Abu Qatada's] activities went far beyond the mere giving of advice. The evidence is sufficient to show that he has been concerned in the instigation of acts of international terrorism".

"P", who lost both of his hands when a bomb he was making exploded, gave support to a cell in Frankfurt that planned an attack on the Christmas Market in Strasbourg in 2000, and provided materials to at least two terrorist cells

planning chemical and biological attacks in Britain. When he was arrested in February 2001, his home was found to contain 40 blank French driving licences, identity cards and passports, a credit-card reader, laminators and an embossing machine (for producing false credit cards).

And so it goes on, through "B", "C" "D", "E" "F" "G", "H" "I"… the alphabet soup of letters used to refer to the men (almost all of the detainees have asked for their identity to be concealed, and the court has agreed).

Yet these are the men, whose detention the Law Lords have said is not compatible with the Human Rights Act, and who do not pose "the real threat to the life of this nation". On the contrary, said Lord Justice Hoffmann, the "real threat" comes from the law that allowed the men to be detained indefinitely without trial in the first place.

When reading the open evidence (available on the SIAC website: http://www.courtservice.gov.uk/judgments/siac/outcomes.htm), it is not easy to see how the Law Lords can have reached the conclusion that not one of the men's detentions was "strictly required by the exigencies of the situation".

It is true that the Law Lords expressly stated that they did not read and were not given by the Government, the evidence taken by SIAC in the closed sessions. But it might not have changed their minds even if they had. In several of the cases, SIAC stressed that the secret material from the security services and other sources added nothing to the publicly available material. In the case of K, for instance, SIAC said that "we did not find it necessary to rely on the closed material in reaching our conclusion that K's appeals [against his detention] must be dismissed". With Abu Qatada, SIAC said that "were the standard [for justifying detention] higher than reasonable suspicion, we would have no doubt that it was established. Abu Qatada was at the centre in the United Kingdom of terrorist activities associated with al-Qaeda. He is a truly dangerous individual".

A number of misconceptions have grown up around the detention of the "Belmarsh nine". It is frequently said, for instance, that none of them has been given the opportunity to answer, or even hear, the allegations against him: these allegations, it is said, have all been aired only in "closed session" which neither the accused men, nor their lawyers, are allowed to attend. That is not true. Most of the allegations against them are proclaimed in open session. The men and their lawyers have the opportunity to hear much of the evidence against them, and to refute it. Indeed, all of the salient issues are revealed: only some of the supporting detail, together with the way in which it was gathered, is held back.

Even so, most of the men have not taken the opportunity to refute specific allegations of involvement in terrorism. They have said that they do not wish to take part in the proceedings because they are "unfair" – although that has not prevented any of them from "giving permission for his appeal against his detention to proceed".

The men are provided with lawyers at the taxpayers' expense. When they refuse to participate in their appeals, their lawyers present those appeals for them – and even in the cases when those lawyers are instructed not to say anything by the particular detainee, SIAC gives lengthy and careful consideration to the possibility that there is an innocent explanation for the facts in front of them. They do not accept the Home Office's evidence uncritically and, in one case, have rejected it altogether and ordered the individual to be freed.

The Government is trying to put together an alternative that will allow it to continue to detain the men it regards as a "serious threat". The drastic option being considered – the extension of detention without trial so that it applies to British citizens – could well produce a rebellion in Parliament sufficient to defeat it. Many security experts, including Sir Ian Blair, the new Metropolitan Police Commissioner, are calling for changes to the rules of evidence that would ensure that the men could be tried – and, it is hoped, convicted.

The only people who are pleased with the present legal mess are the Islamic terrorists. "Delighted" is how a senior official from the FBI described them to The Sunday Telegraph. "They're laughing at you! They can't believe how easy it is to get the English legal system to tie itself in knots for the benefit of the brothers engaged in violent jihad. They know, because of what your courts have decided, it's going to be easier for them to execute a terrorist outrage that kills hundreds, if not thousands, of people in Britain. I tell you: they're laughing."

How has it come to this?
Words fail me. I'm going outside to dig a hole in the sand to work off some AGGRESSION :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil:
Article from the same paper but nearly two weeks back.


UK terror suspects can be confined at home
By Philip Johnston, Home Affairs Editor
(Filed: 27/01/2005)

British citizens suspected of terrorism but not charged could be put under house arrest or have their movements controlled by the Home Secretary under new powers announced yesterday.

Charles Clarke told MPs that he was bowing to a law lords ruling to end the detention without trial of foreign nationals suspected of being a threat to national security.

Charles Clarke: accepts proposed measures 'will be contentious'
Instead, he intends to introduce executive control orders that can be issued against both British and overseas citizens if there is not enough evidence to prosecute them.

The orders would be tailored to the threat posed by each suspect and designed to disrupt his or her activities. People subject to the toughest orders, which could be indefinite but would be reviewable, could be forced to remain in their homes or designated premises without access to computers or telephones.

Suspects considered less dangerous would have their movements controlled by electronic tags and curfews.

The orders will be issued by the Home Secretary, rather than by a court, on the basis of reports from MI5 and the police. They could be challenged before a judicial panel, although this would be able to sit in secret and evidence against the suspects may be withheld from them and their lawyers on security grounds. In such cases, the Government would appoint special advocates to argue on their behalf.

A Bill containing the powers is expected within weeks. But with an election looming it is unlikely to become law until the summer at the earliest unless it is rushed through with all-party agreement.

Mr Clarke said his hand had been forced by last month's law lords ruling that detention without trial was unlawful as it was both discriminatory - in that it applied only to foreigners - and disproportionate to the threat facing the country. He believed that the new powers met human rights objections.

However, he acknowledged that allowing suspects to be held under house arrest on the orders of a politician marked "a very substantial increase in the executive powers of the state in relation to British citizens''.

He said: "This will be contentious but I believe the need for us to protect ourselves against the threat justifies the changes I propose."

Lawyers could think of no other European country where a minister had been given such powers to control its own citizens except in time of war.

House arrest is normally associated with countries such as Burma, where the opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been confined for nearly two years.

Others that have used it include Tunisia, Vietnam, Cuba, Argentina and Zimbabwe, the campaign group Human Rights Watch said.

Edward Nally, the Law Society chairman, said the move was an "abuse of power".

Diane Abbott, Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, said: "To have individuals interned in their homes in the middle of communities in our great cities is, if anything, more incendiary than putting them in prison".

Kate Allen, the UK director of Amnesty International, said: "However he puts it, the Home Secretary is giving himself the power to place anyone in the UK under house arrest, without charge or trial, based on secret evidence."

The foreign nationals detained under the 2001 Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act, which was rushed through Parliament after the September 11 attacks in America, will not be released until the new measures become law.

When they are freed, they are likely to be subjected to the control orders. In theory, some or all of the nine British Muslims released from Guantanamo Bay could be placed under house arrest if they are still considered a threat.

The four repatriated on Tuesday were freed without charge last night after questioning at Paddington Green police station for reunions with their families. All were said to be in good health.

Mr Clarke said his favoured options were either to prosecute terrorist suspects or deport foreign nationals to their home countries on an assurance that they would not be tortured or executed. But he would use the control orders if those alternatives were not available. Breaking the orders would be a criminal offence, punishable by imprisonment.

House arrest is already in use against one of the detainees, an Algerian identified only as "G", who was freed on bail from Belmarsh high security prison in London last year because of illness. He is allowed to live at home but is electronically tagged and must make five calls a day to the tagging company.

"G" is also forbidden any computer equipment that might enable him to use the internet. Apart from his wife and child and designated medical personnel, any visitors have to be approved by the Home Office.

David Davis, the shadow home secretary, said: "The Home Secretary could find himself confining one known terrorist only to recruit 10 unknown terrorists.''
I don't read the Telegraph and don't know of Mr Palmer but imo - his article seems to be pieced together with bits of repeated info that were widely obtainable and bits of useless info (or is this normal Telegraph work!).

There are some pointers here that refutes some of the (minor) points in the above article. Would make sense if the journos of the same paper actually communicate!

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