UK CT & COIN Features – 18 April 2008

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A round-up of today’s newspaper articles covering the UK’s involvement in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations at home and abroad.

Gordon Brown is grilled in America over Iraq
Andrew Porter, The Telegraph

Gordon Brown has been forced to defend his Iraq policy during a trip to America. The Prime Minister faced questions over the decision for British troops not to get involved in the recent fighting in the city of Basra. Critics warned that his mishandling of the troop withdrawal had damaged Anglo-American relations.

Bomb squad carries out controlled explosion
Anil Dawar, The Guardian

A controlled explosion was carried out at a house in Bristol in the early hours of this morning and a man arrested under the terrorism act, police said. About 30 people have been evacuated from neighbouring homes.

A 19-year-old man who lived at the house is currently being questioned by anti-terrorist officers at an undisclosed police station in the Avon and Somerset area. Detectives were today refusing to say what prompted the arrest, what materials were destroyed or name the teenager at the heart of the incident.

Also:

British Police Carry Out Controlled ExplosionNew York Times
Police Arrest Terror Suspect in BristolDer Spiegel
Teenager arrested in Britain under terror laws – MSNBC
Police blow up suspect material after terror arrestThe Telegraph

Mugabe denounces Britain as ‘thieving colonialists’
Mark Tran, The Guardian

Robert Mugabe today denounced Britain as “thieving neo-colonialists” in a speech marking the 28th anniversary of Zimbabwe’s independence.

In his first major appearance since disputed elections last month, Mugabe told 15,000 cheering Zanu-PF loyalists: “Today they are like thieves fronting their lackeys among us.”

Mugabe, who led the fight for independence against Ian Smith’s regime in the 1970s, said at a sports stadium in Highfield, an opposition stronghold: “Zimbabwe will never be a colony again. Never shall we retreat.”

Mugabe’s diatribe followed some tough words from Gordon Brown earlier in the week, when the British prime minister accused him of trying to steal Zimbabwe’s presidential vote.

Terror absconder hands himself in
BBC

A terror fund-raiser has handed himself into police after jumping bail for 10 days during his trial. Shah Jalal Hussain, 25, was found guilty of terrorist fund-raising on Thursday and will be sentenced alongside five other men shortly.

He surrendered at Kingston Crown Court a day after his conviction and was arrested by police. He had been given bail but went missing from his home when the jury began deliberations on 8 April.

Islamist activist sentenced to four and a half years
Roxanne Escobales, The Guardian

A judge today sentenced an Islamist activist to four and a half years in prison for terrorism offences, describing him as “arrogant, contemptuous and utterly devoid of remorse”.

Judge Nicholas Price questioned Abu Izzadeen’s religious motivations, saying: “I am left in no doubt that your speeches were used by you as self-aggrandisement and not as an expression of sincerely held religious views.”

Izzadeen – born Trevor Brooks to Jamaican parents in London – was yesterday found guilty of fundraising for terrorists and inciting terrorism overseas. He had first come to national attention when he heckled the then home secretary, John Reid, at a meeting in Leyton, east London, accusing him of being a “tyrant” and demanding to know why he had come to “a Muslim area”.

Also:

Q&A: Abu IzzadeenThe Guardian
Islamist activist guilty of funding terror – The Guardian

Trouble in the rear
The Economist

TO SENTIMENTAL Britons, the protest waged outside an asylum and immigration tribunal building in London on April 15th was affecting. A dozen retired Gurkhas—natives of Nepal with an historic dispensation to serve in Britain’s army—silently saluted a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.

Inside the building, an appeal was being heard on behalf of a former comrade who wanted permission to reside in Britain. It is one of many recent test cases for those who seek the same rights for former Gurkhas that other old soldiers enjoy. Meanwhile, back in Nepal, the Gurkhas face trouble from the rear.

If Nepal’s rulers-elect, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), saw the old Gurkhas’ stand, they must have shivered in their revolutionary socks. A former guerrilla army, which surprisingly won an election on April 10th, the Maoists want to ban Nepalis from soldiering for foreign powers. “Having the citizenship of Nepal and serving in a foreign army is totally unacceptable,” says the party’s deputy leader, Baburam Bhattarai. “They are mercenaries.”

U.K. docs in Iraq feared malpractice suits
United Press International (UPI)

British doctors refused to issue a death certificate for a prisoner at a coalition military base in Iraq because they feared malpractice charges.

The ACLU acquired under the Freedom of Information Act and posted on the Web Wednesday documents from a number of U.S. Army investigations into alleged torture and homicide of prisoners in U.S. military custody in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The documents include the file on the death of Muhammad al-Kanan, a prisoner held by the British military at Camp Bucca in Iraq, who died of “an apparent heart attack,” according to the file. A U.S. Army investigator’s report concludes that British doctors refused to issue a death certificate for fear of being sued for malpractice.

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