A series of anti-terror raids took place across northern England last week in which a total of twelve suspects were arrested.
The raids were part of a police operation which was brought forward after Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick was photographed entering Downing Street carrying a briefing note headed SECRET, on which details of an undercover operation against a suspected Al-Qaeda cell could clearly be seen.
At least, that was the story touted by the mainstream media.
The realisation that the document Bob Quick held in open view as he was filmed going into a meeting of security committee reportedly prompted alarm in Scotland Yard, which ordered the immediate arrest of the suspects.
12 men were arrested the following day in Manchester, Liverpool and Clitheroe, Lancashire. Ranging in age from a teenager to a man aged 41, one man was a UK-born British national while the rest were Pakistanis staying on student visas.
As with so many alleged “terror plots” in the UK recently things get stranger the closer you look. For example, one of the masterminds allegedly orchestrating the planned “terror” was Rashid Rauf. Stranger still is the fact that U.S. officials reported Rashid Rauf was killed in a Predator drone attack in Waziristan last November.
In response British officials say Rauf may have survived because Pakistani authorities still haven’t confirmed his death.
Nonetheless, US officials talking to Newsweek said US agencies still believed Rauf was killed in the strike.
“While it is not 100 percent confirmed,” said one of the officials, “there are good reasons to believe Rashid Rauf is dead.”
Rauf, a former British resident, was allegedly a central figure in an August 2006 plot to blow up trans-Atlantic airliners. The alleged plan was to blow up twelve trans-Atlantic airliners in an attack that Scotland Yard said would have been “bigger than 9/11”.
As it turned out though much of that was just so much scare mongering. In point of fact, many of those arrested in previous “anti-terror raids” have later been freed, without charge and with minimal media attention.
What happens with these latest arrests remains to be seen but doubts remain over Rashid Rauf and whether he is as claimed a “terror mastermind.”
Meanwhile, it is already becoming apparent that this latest “terror plot” isn’t quite what the UK authorities claim. Today the Times revealed that most of those arrested in much publicised raids last week will be deported rather than charged.
Investigators say they have not found any evidence linking the twelve to an alleged terror plot.
Meaning there may not have been any to start with.
Finally, in the latest farcical twist, authorities in Pakistan are holding a Dundee born Scot. James McLintock, 44, was detained in Peshawar, from where many of the men arrested in Britain come, and is being questioned about helping British Muslim militants to make contacts in Pakistan.
Don’t be surprised if at some point down the line McLintock is revealed to be in the employ of MI6. Seriously, any absurdity is possible.