In the wake of the absurdly incompetent terrorist attacks, my main worry is that the police
Eight Al Qaeda fanatics working for the police (but they don't dare sack them)
By STEPHEN WRIGHT - More by this author »
Last updated at 12:12pm on 7th July 2007
Up to eight police officers and civilian staff are suspected of links to extremist groups including Al Qaeda.
Some are even believed to have attended terror training camps in Pakistan or Afghanistan.
Their names feature on a secret list of alleged radicals said to be working in the Metropolitan and other forces.
The dossier was drawn up with the help of MI5 amid fears that individuals linked to Islamic extremism are taking advantage of police attempts to increase the proportion of ethnic staff.
Astonishingly, many of the alleged jihadists have not been sacked because - it is claimed - police do not have the "legal power" to dismiss them.
(here - or 1, below)
might be so desperate for recruits they might employ goons who can't even blow themselves up properly. If they can't break the law effectively, how on Earth dcould the be expected to enforce it? On inspection, however, the Mail article starts to look very shabby.
First of all, bear in mind that none of the staff in question has actually been provend to be a terrorist, a sympathizer, or anything of the sort. They are "suspected of links to extremist groups including Al Qaeda." Suspicion, remember, does not mean guilt. The British have a long and ignoble history of arresting and jailing Irish nationals incorrectly.
Also, these are not all police officers. The article refers to 'eight police officers and civilian staff.' We might be talking about cleaners and canteen staff. While a fanatic might be able to slip some laxatives into the canteen tea urn, they aren't going to have access to polcie information.
What are 'extremist groups,' anyway? It could cover a huge range from al Qaeda, Palestinian support groups, kurdish national organistations, Greenpeace, PETA, the Scottish National Party, many religious sects, the BNP and the Natioinal Front. It is interesting that the religious or cultural background of the staff in question is never made clear - the assumption we make, immediately, is that they are Muslims. This is not stated in the article, however, other than in the ridiculous headline - which is undermined by the very first line of the story. They might be eight Muslim fanatics, but no-where does the Mail providing evidence to back up the claim made in its headline.
Then we learn "Some are even believed to have attended terror training camps". So it isn't known for sure, and there may not even be credible evidence. Iqbal might have saved up all the money earnedf working in the canteen to go to Pakistan, and he might have visited a terror training camp (whatever that may mean) but equally he might not have. Towards the bottom of the article, we are smugly informed that new recruits to the police may not have been vetted properly because
it is often impossible to carry out satisfactory checks on recruits who were raised overseas or who have spent considerable periods out of Britain before applying to join the Met.Yet these are the same intelligence agencies who are claiming that Iqbal or Hamid may have visited the mysterious 'terror training camps.' Anyway, how many is 'Some'? One? Two? Or all eight 'Al Qaeda fanatics'? Two lines in and there is already a distinct smell of bullshit about the story.
In such cases, the Met has to rely on overseas agencies to carry out intelligence checks on their behalf. Privately, officials doubt whether certain countries in Africa, Middle East or the Indian sub-continent are able to carry out meaningful vetting. (1)
But it gets better: "Their names feature on a secret list of alleged radicals said to be working in the Metropolitan and other forces." Note again that they are 'alleged,' not proven and perhaps not even indicated by any credible intelligence, from home or abroad. And again, the vague term 'radical' begs questions. Radical about what? Islam? Global warming? Organics? The racial purity of the Aryan race? I don't see why the Mail is being mealy-mouthed about this, especially after scorning the idea of not linking Muslims with terror (2). Unless they are trying a smoke and mirrors routine. But the Mail wouldn't do that, would it?
Then their supposed unsackability: "Astonishingly, many of the alleged jihadists have not been sacked because - it is claimed - police do not have the "legal power" to dismiss them" and "Political correctness is blamed for the decision not to sack them." The latter sounds very like the Mail's take on what the dossier said, rather than an accurate rendering of its contents. I doubt a police dossier would blame political correctness, but the Mail does like to attribute everything to the vileness of PC. If the dossier did say something like 'Political correctness is blamed for the decision not to sack them', why not quote directly? Why would it miss an opportunity to show how it is jeopardising our national security? And would a police memo allocate 'blame' in that way? Sounds far fetched. It might say "We have decided not to sack the staff in question because of our preference not to unnecessarily offend ethnic and religious minorities." It wouldn't say "We can't sack them because of the poxy culture of PC that has crippled our fine police force."
The suggestion rthat they will be unsackable is bollocks anyway. A few lines later we learn, "it is understood that a policeman was removed from his post after concerns about his conduct in the aftermath of a major anti-terrorist operation in the past two years" - so in fact staff who are corrupt, are guilty of misconduct or otherways deliberately failing in their duty can be dealt with. It is down to evidence, not political correctness.
Not being able to sack people on suspicion is a GOOD THING. Guilty by suspicion was popular in Iraq and the Soviet Union. We're better than they are, and not relying on hearsay or giving in to paranoia is one of the ways we show this moral supeiority. If it can be shown they are guilty of misconduct, inappropriate behaviour, or any sort of terrorist activity, then appropiate steps can be taken. In the meantime, sqealing in a Mailesque manner doesn't accomplish anything but made people paranoid and frightened. Which is what the terrorists would like.
Then we're told that "one suspected jihadist officer working in the South East has been allowed to keep his job despite being caught circulating Internet images of beheadings and roadside bombings in Iraq." Sorry, but so what? These pictures are everywhere on the internet. If emailing images of terrorist barbarity is what makes one a 'suspected jihadist' then there are many of them, most of them professing to hate Islam and its evil, backwards mediaval attitude. A ghoulish interest in cruelty doesn't make one a terrorist, merely a bad human being.
The Mail also claims'It is thought that intelligence files on those who frequently visit pro-Jihad websites and who have associated with so-called preachers of hate were also compared to details of officers and civilian staff in the Met.' Again, this doesn't mean much. Many people visit web-sites that could be termed 'pro-Jihad' - whatever that stupid formulation means. Many of them are not terrorists or terrorist sympathizer, but people wanting to see what is being said on these websites, and again these people are not Jihadis but often people fired up about the perceived wickedness of Islam, who trawl these sites so they can bleat about the inane ramblings in Muslim discussion groups. And how on Earth does a term like 'so-called preachers of hate' find its way without arttribution or justification into an article in a supposedly serious newspaper?
Basically, the article is shoddy, failing to backing up the wild claims it makes. One would have thought, if they had seen the dossier in question, they would have managed to find something more substantial in it. Instead they fall back on the usual tricks - partial quoting, reported speech rather than direct quotation, implication and generalisation. Piss poor journalism, in other words.
1 - Eight Al Qaeda fanatics working for the police (but they don't dare sack them), By Stephen Wright. Retrieved Sunda, 8th July, 2007. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=466832&in_page_id=1770&ct=5
2 - Terror-spooked EU: 'Don't say Muslims', no author given. Rerieved Sunday, 8th July, 2007. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/worldnews.html?in_article_id=466130&in_page_id=1811