UK CT & COIN Features – 19 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.

Brown calls for new dawn of collaboration for US and EU
Nicholas Watt, The Guardian

Europe and the US will face “terrifying risks” if they fail to join forces to fight global terrorism by combating poverty and disease, Gordon Brown warned yesterday in a speech on foreign policy in Boston.

The prime minister voiced the hope that a “new dawn of collaborative action” would be ushered in next year with the election of a new US president.

On the final leg of his three-day trip to the US, during which he met George Bush and the three presidential candidates, Brown said that American leadership would always be indispensable.

But he made clear that he hopes for a more consensual style of US leadership when either Barack Obama, John McCain, or Hillary Clinton enters the White House next January. Brown indicated that this would allow Europe and the US to move on from the divisions over Iraq.

US was warned about bomber’s training camp visit, court told
Rachel Williams, The Guardian

An al-Qaida supergrass told American authorities before the London bombings in 2005 about a weapons training camp in Pakistan attended by the July 7 ringleader Mohammed Siddique Khan, a court heard yesterday.

Mohammed Junaid Babar, who was arrested in the US in spring 2004, knew Khan by the pseudonym Ibrahim when he reported his trip, but then recognised him in a newspaper photograph after the July 2005 attacks.

Kingston crown court heard yesterday that Mohammed Shakil, one of three men standing trial accused of helping the July 7 bombers plan their attacks, also joined a group of five British Muslims who trained at the camp in the Malakand region.

Giving evidence via videolink from New York where he is awaiting sentence, Babar described how in July 2003 Khan and Shakil, using the name Zubair, spent several days at the camp, which was to prepare people to fight jihad in Afghanistan.

Ex-Gitmo inmates to sue UK intelligence
Press TV

Eight men freed from Guantanamo prison have decided to sue the UK intelligence for damages they have incurred while they were in jail.

The British newspaper the Daily Mail Saturday cited lawyers and one of the former detainees as saying so.

The Daily Mail said two separate writs had been issued on behalf of the eight–five UK nationals and three with residency rights–claiming the complicity of the domestic and overseas security services with the Americans.

The first writ has been issued at London’s High Court by lawyers acting on behalf of Libyan national Omar Deghayes, Jordanian Jamil el-Banna and an Iraqi Bisher al-Rawi. Deghayes and el-Banna were released from the US-run facility in Cuba last December.

NHS consultant’s teenage son is terror suspect
Duncan Gardham, Caroline Gammell and Richard Savill, The Telegraph

A 19-year-old British Muslim whose father works as an NHS consultant has been questioned by terrorist squad officers after they found a bomb at his home.

Andrew Ibrahim, who was living in a quiet suburb of Bristol populated largely by retired residents, was arrested under the Terrorism Act after a tip off from a member of the public.

Terrorist squad officers raided his home in Comb Paddock, Westbury-on-Trym, in the early hours of the morning when they discovered a container described by police sources as a “viable device”.

Neighbours in the cul-de-sac said the teenager was often seen wearing traditional Muslim dress and played loud Islamic chanting. Some had complained about the noise.

Muslim cleric ‘devoid of remorse’ gets 4½ years for terrorism offences
Lee Glendinning, The Guardian

Abu Izzadeen, the radical Muslim cleric who heckled former Home Secretary John Reid at a public meeting, and called for volunteers to fight against British and American troops in Iraq, was yesterday jailed for 4½ years for inciting and funding terrorism.

Izzadeen, a former BT electrician who converted to Islam aged 17, was one of six defendants convicted over terror offences this week after a three-month trial.

As the men awaited their sentences, one of the co-accused, Shah Jalal Hussain, reappeared, 10 days after he absconded while the jury was deliberating at Kingston upon Thames crown court.

Hussain, who had failed to arrive at court on Tuesday, handed himself in yesterday morning. He was sentenced to two years for his part in the fundraising charge, and three months, to be served consecutively, for breaking his bail conditions.

Chinese protest outside BBC over ‘media bias’
Natalie Paris, The Telegraph

More than 1,000 Chinese students gathered today in protest at the Western media’s portrayal of the Free Tibet movement.

Demonstrators wearing “I love China” T-shirts held hands outside the BBC building in Oxford Road, Manchester, for the Protest Against Media Distortion. They carried banners denouncing the BBC and other media organisations for their portrayal of China’s handling of riots in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, and the Olympic torch relay.

Coroner blames MoD again over troops’ deaths
Thomas Harding, The Telegraph

An outspoken coroner has condemned shortages of military equipment again and claimed that two British soldiers would not have died in Iraq had they been in armoured vehicles.

The inquest into the deaths of Gunners Stephen Wright, 20, and Samuela Vanua, 27, heard that it was a “running joke” for the men of 12 Regiment Royal Artillery to have requests turned down for Warrior armoured vehicles.

Instead, they had to travel into danger zones using poorly defended Snatch Land Rovers, which have been involved in dozens of deaths in Iraq.

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