Home Secretary should level with us on the “arrested Aqap associate”

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    3rd November 2010

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    The Home Secretary has been speaking today on terrorism. It was reported as below at The Guardian. (Do, please, note their typical ‘civil-liberty’ emphasis in their report’s subtitle.)

    Theresa May pledges ‘significant’ reform of counter-terrorism laws

    Home secretary targets better balance between liberty and security, and outlines changing nature of terrorist threat

    Theresa May at Royal United Services Institute in central London. Photograph: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images

    Guardian article continues:

    _______________

    The home secretary, Theresa May, has promised there will be “significant changes” in counter-terrorism laws, and detailed the changing nature of the al-Qaida threat to Britain.

    In her first major speech on counter-terrorism, May said she had thought “long and hard” as an opposition spokesman over the last 10 years about control orders and pre-charge detention and believed there could be a much better balance between liberty and security.

    The home secretary’s pledge to introduce significant reform of the anti-terror laws comes in the face of a cabinet stalemate over the future of control orders and detention without charge for terror suspects.

    In her speech to the Royal United Services Institute, the home secretary said the group behind last week’s air cargo bombs, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (Aqap), had been responsible for last year’s Detroit airlines plot and two attacks this year on British diplomats in Yemen.

    She revealed that the police and security services had been working to disrupt their agents in Britain, disclosing that an Aqap associate was arrested here this year.

    “He is alleged to have been planning a terrorist attack in this country. Threats such as these are likely to continue,” she said.

    May also cited the damage caused by online Aqap propaganda in the attack on the MP Stephen Timms.

    _______________

    Good, as far as it goes, but I for one am not satisfied.  Her mention of the ‘AQAP associate’ raises more questions than it answers.

    I realise it is a sharp learning curve, but do, please tell us a little more of the story, Ms May. For a start –

    1. Is the AQAP associate who was arrested “earlier this year” STILL in custody?
    2. WHEN exactly was he arrested? Since the coalition came to power, or while Labour was running the country? In other words before the May general election or afterwards?
    3. If he is still in custody, is he about to be charged?
    4. Or was he, by any chance, released by you and your other ‘liberal-minded’ thinkers before you realised what you had?

    The mainstream press’s coverage on this is no wiser than am I. For instance –

    No further clarification in this video segment of her speech here at the Telegraph

    The Mirror? No  mention of a name of the “associate” or the date he was arrested.

    The Independent’s extensive coverage of her speech provides no clue either on the Aqap associate. But at least it quotes her thus:

    May:  “I want an approach which is more targeted against extremist individuals, but that impacts much less on the good people of our communities. I want an approach which allows people to enjoy their liberty in safety and security.”

    If she pushes for the arrest of the evil-minded reprobate Anjem Choudary for his incitement to jihad and his rantings against this country, its democracy and its people, I will forgive her almost anything.

    But SKY News to the rescue.

    Sky says it knows the identity of the man arrested, AND that his arrest was in February this year. If so, it was NOT thanks to this government, but the previous one, or to be more exact the security forces accountable to the previous government, NOT, thank all that is not Lib Dem, this one. Even if his identity is not about to be released, for legal reasons, I conclude that it is being at the very least illiberal with the verity to infer that somehow YOUR government Ms May, had something to do with his detention.

    SKY report:

    ‘The suspect was arrested in the UK in February and faces several charges relating to terror plots.

    The alleged offences are said to have occurred over a four-year period.

    Although Sky knows who he is and the nature of the allegations against him, the law prevents anyone revealing his identity.

    He is currently going through the judicial process and is expected to come to trial next year.

    Mrs May announced his arrest days after the discovery of the explosives found on two planes in the UK and Dubai.’

    Perhaps the realisation that the last government and the police and security services were more right than wrong explained her “frightened rabbit” look when she appeared before the cameras on the day the cargo package was discovered at the East Midlands airport.

    Forgive me if I seem hyper-critical, but Ms May is also wrong to criticise the previous government’s Prevent programme for (she suggests) “talking to Muslim communities only about counter-terrorism.”

    The last government CAN be criticised regarding their attempts to stop radicalisation, true, but in quite the opposite way that Ms May suggests.

    Labour can, imho, be criticised for pumping far too much money, far too many resources and far too much misguided effort into far too many groups who were not necessarily as they seemed.

    So, please, Ms May, stop spinning it to us.

    I for one am perfectly willing to give you and your government room for manoeuver on this subject. All I ask is that you do NOT pretend that the last government was wrong on tackling terrorism, when it is clear as day that your party and particularly your coalition partners may even have been willing to throw us all to the jihadist dogs, such is was your wrong-headed pre-occupations and assumptions on “civil liberties”.

    Read more of the Guardian’s coverage here

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