| Ander Nieuws week 26 / nieuwe oorlog 2006 |
· Police were ordered to make Forest Gate raid
· Official Menezes report 'piles pressure on Met chief'
June 11, 2006
By Jamie Doward, Mark Townsend and Antony Barnett
Scotland Yard warned MI5 it had serious reservations about the credibility of the source whose information triggered the Forest Gate anti-terrorism raid only hours before police stormed the suspects' house in east London.
Whitehall sources told The Observer last night the reservations were passed up the chain of command to senior officials in the office of Sir Richard Mottram, the government's security and intelligence co-ordinator, but despite the concerns the police were ordered to go in.
'It wasn't the fact that the information was based on a single source, it was more that the police doubted the credibility of that source,' said a Whitehall official. 'The intelligence was doubtful. On the Thursday night [hours before the raid] there were contradictions about how strong the intelligence was.
'There came a point when officials in the Cabinet Office were made aware that the police believed they were being placed in difficulty because of the quality of this intelligence.'
The revelation comes as the News of the World today publishes details of a leaked copy of the Independent Police Complaints Commission report into the tragic shooting of the innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell station, south London, last July in the wake of the London tube and bus bombings.
The newspaper claims the report reveals how senior officers knew de Menezes was not a suicide bomber just hours after he was killed. But they failed to tell the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair until the following day.
The leaked report details a catalogue of police blunders, including failing to pass on alerts from the undercover team that they were tailing an innocent man. It also suggests that there was a delay of five hours in deploying a specialist firearms unit that could have taken de Menezes alive.
The publication of the IPPC report will put further pressure on the beleaguered commissioner, who is already facing new questions following this month's raid and shooting in east London .
Last night Gareth Peirce, the lawyer acting for the family of the two brothers seized in Forest Gate, said they would be launching legal action for damages against Sir Ian. 'But it will not be enough; the emotional damage will be enormous,' Peirce said. 'In similar cases, some individuals never recover from an incident like this.'
She said the officers failed to give a warning during the raid and did not identify themselves as police. 'The family thought they were armed robbers wearing helmets with their visors pulled down,' Peirce said.
'Nobody identified themselves as police as they stormed in wearing terrifying black hoods and started bashing them over the head. They only realised they were officers when they saw the word police on their backs.'
Yesterday the family were in temporary accommodation because the police had gutted their house in their search for evidence. 'The family are going to be stunned when they see their house,' a source said. 'The walls have been knocked down, the doors taken out. It's a complete mess.' The Metropolitan Police have pledged to undertake any appropriate 'restoration work'.
Disclosures that Scotland Yard was unhappy about the credibility of the individual who tipped off the intelligence services will raise questions about the use of the informant. It was this individual's information that led directly to the arrests of Mohammed Abdul Kahar, 23, who was shot during the raid, and 20-year-old Abul Koyair.
The brothers were released on Friday without being charged after being held for a week on suspicion of the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism. The Forest Gate raid is not the first time that a high profile anti-terrorist operation has resulted in men being released without charge days later. Last October, 10 Iraqi refugees were arrested in Derby, Wolverhampton and Croydon amid media reports of plans for a wave of car bomb attacks across Britain.
The Chancellor, Gordon Brown, said it was one of three major Islamic militant plots foiled since last July. However, security sources have confirmed to The Observer that no evidence of any terror plot was ever found and all the men were freed within a week.
Last night, leaders of the British Muslim community demanded an investigation into the intelligence services' use of sources in the Forest Gate case.
The raid had created 'considerable unease in the Muslim community', said Muhammad Abdul Bari, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Great Britain.
It has emerged that the police had only expected to find a trigger or mechanism, not all the components to make a chemical weapon. 'It would be unique for bomb-makers to make entire bombs in a family house,' said one person familiar with the situation.
Security services remained unapologetic yesterday, warning that similar operations would follow if specific intelligence was received.
'There are dozens of mass casualty attacks being planned against ... the UK', a senior counter-terrorism official said, 'and when we have what we believe is genuine intelligence that life is at risk, we have to act.'
Guardian Unlimited (c) Guardian Newspapers Limited 2006
| Ander Nieuws week 26 / nieuwe oorlog 2006 |