UK CT & COIN Features – 1 May 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.

NB: Updated since first posted.


Court sees new CCTV footage of July 7 attacks
James Orr, The Guardian

Chilling footage of the moments two of the July 7 bombers detonated their deadly devices on the London transport network was shown to a jury today.

Previously unreleased film showed clouds of smoke filling a platform at Liverpool Street station 40 seconds after suicide attacker Shezhad Tanweer detonates his bomb.

Kingston crown court also saw the resulting chaos and horrified reaction of those near the No 30 bus in Tavistock Square after bomber Hasib Hussain had detonated explosives in his rucksack.

The footage was played to the court where three men are standing trial accused of helping the bombers plan their devastating attack.

More time to quiz Tigers suspects
BBC

Detectives have been granted extra time to quiz three men arrested as part of an investigation into the Tamil Tigers.

Officers can now hold the men until next Tuesday. They are being held as part of a long-term investigation into the Sri Lankan-based group.

Two of the men, aged 39 and 46, were arrested in raids in Powys, Wales and a third, aged 33, in south-west London.

All three are being held on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.

To win Iraq war, we must fight properly
Allan Mallinson, The Telegraph

Reputation will also be at the forefront of senior British officers’ minds. The events in Basra these past weeks, with US generals flying south to take part-control of the Iraqi army’s counter-offensive, will not go down in history as one of the models of combined operations.

But the spin has already begun. At defence questions on Monday, Des Browne, the Secretary of State, painted a rosy picture of operations in Basra, quoting a positive assessment by the Chief of the General Staff, Sir Richard Dannatt.

It took the Opposition whip and former soldier, Crispin Blunt, to chide him for hiding behind senior officers’ words, which to some extent have to be couched to maintain morale.

The truth is that our troops in Iraq have no real operational flexibility because they are too few. They are too few because the commitment in Afghanistan is increasing, and we have been running down the Army these past three years. How has this happened?

MoD must take care with Prince William
The Telegraph

On the Army Rumour Service, the popular military internet forum with an irreverent acronym, they had mixed feelings over Prince William’s brief visit to Afghanistan.

Praise was intermingled with a suspicion that the Prince had been an unwitting participant in a Ministry of Defence public relations exercise.

….

As with the deployment of his younger brother to the war zone of southern Afghanistan, William’s involvement serves to revive public interest, which wanes all too easily, in the endeavours of the forces in exceptionally difficult circumstances.

Nevertheless, the MoD should be careful how it uses the two Royal officers, lest its detractors find reason to complain of cynical stunts.

Fourth Briton accuses MI5 of collusion in torture of detainees
Ian Cobain, The Guardian

Human rights groups and MPs are calling for an investigation into claims that MI5 officers colluded in the torture of British citizens detained in Pakistan during counter-terrorism operations, after the allegations were detailed by the Guardian yesterday.

The demand came as a fourth Briton alleged that British officials “outsourced” his torture to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency in an attempt to extract information about a planned al-Qaida attack against the UK.

Amnesty International said the British government needed to explain what steps are taken to ensure suspects are not tortured after they are detained in Pakistan at the request of British counter-terrorism officials. In a letter to the Guardian, Kate Allen, Amnesty’s UK director, added: “Complicity in torture is a crime and you don’t defeat terrorism by committing further crimes.”

Group clears IRA of Quinn murder
BBC

The body that monitors paramilitary activity is expected to say the IRA was not responsible for beating a man to death in Monaghan last year.

Paul Quinn, 21, died after being lured to a cattle shed and beaten with iron bars and pick axe handles by a gang of masked men.

His parents said their son had been threatened by members of the IRA in south Armagh.

Sinn Fein said there was no IRA involvement and condemned the murder.

The Independent Monitoring Commission will publish its latest report later and is expected to say there was no evidence that the IRA was responsible.

Brown vows to press on with 42-day detention plans
Deborah Summers, The Guardian

Gordon Brown today vowed to press ahead with plans to extend detention without charge beyond 28 days.

Quizzed on the matter during Commons question time, the prime minister urged opponents to listen to the advice of police and the independent reviewer, Lord Carlile.

The Tory leader, David Cameron, likened the issue to the debacle over the 10p tax rate and challenged Brown to make it a matter of confidence in his government.

Brown hit back, insisting the Tories were wrong to oppose the legislation.

“We have dealt with civil liberty issues in this case,” Brown said. “We have given powers to an individual reviewer and the judiciary. I believe we are protecting the civil liberty of this country … and the Tories are making a mistake to oppose this legislation.”

Cameron attacks over terror plans
BBC

David Cameron has urged the prime minister to make his controversial plans to extend the detention limit for terror suspects a vote of confidence.

The Tory leader claimed to have been sent a Labour report detailing its MPs’ concerns over the controversial plans.

He said Mr Brown was sticking with them as part of a “political calculation” to appear “tough on terror”.

Mr Brown said Mr Cameron was a “shallow salesman” who did not address the substance of issues.

Terror charge student on remand
BBC

A teenager accused of planning acts of terrorism has been remanded in custody.

Andrew Ibrahim, 19, faces charges of possessing explosive substances and articles for terrorist purposes as well as an intent to commit terrorism.

The student was arrested on 17 April and three controlled explosions were later carried out at his flat in Westbury-on-Trym, a Bristol suburb.

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