Telegraph : Manchester 'terror plot' emails

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Manchester 'terror plot' emails

Extracts from emails intercepted by MI5 in connection with an alleged al-Qaeda plot in Manchester

July 30, 2009

Dec 3 11.33am

from humaonion@xxxxx.com (student in Manchester) to sana_pakhtana@xxxxx.com (contact in Pakistan called Sohaib)

I saw a slight glimpse of Huma day before yesterday but she was very weak and difficult to convince.

Nadia is more gorgeous than Huma at the moment and she is easy to befriend….Nadia is crystal clear girl and it wont take long to relate with her.

Dec 14 12.18pm

from Pakistan to Manchester

Hmm tell me that how is ur sweety girl friend I miss her a lot

Dec 15 8.47pm

From Manchester to Pakistan

About my Girl friend. As I told you about Huma’s affair. Nadia is still waiting for my response. She is very loyal and She has created a place in my heart. You know Gulnaz and Fozia. WOW man. I would love to get them in my friends list but you know I have been thinking about their abilities. Gulnaz sounds ok but she is found [sic] of money. Fozia is some times bull shit. She lets you down sometime.

I am still keeping my car because most of the jobs they ask for it and other reason is you know girls mostly like guys with car.

Jan 15 2009 12.41pm

from Pakistan to Manchester

hmmmm so u have a lot of girl friendsss me also like girlsssss pay my salam [greetings] for ur girls friend ok

when ever u will mariii soo plz first see ur girl friend how is she…is she nice and beautiy and honest bec [because] we marii in life on [only] one time

Feb 16 1.35pm

from Manchester to Pakistan

You know what girls are like. I am bore of being bachelor now LOL [laughs out loud] so I would try to make it happen in the near future. I will be careful about my choice because your whole family life depends upon the decision.

April 3 4.19pm

from Manchester to Pakistan

I met with Nadia family and we both parties have agreed to conduct the nikah [wedding] after 15th and before 20th of this month.

I am delighted that they have strong family values and we will have many guests attending the party. Anyways I wished you could be here as well to enjoy the party.

THE CODE

MI5 believe that the student was using the girls’ names Huma, Nadia, Gulnaz and Fozia to refer to different bomb-making chemicals.

“Weak and difficult to convince” is thought to refer to the strength of hydrogen peroxide available, and “crystal clear” to the strength of another chemical.

Their “abilities” and “letting you down” refer to how efficient the chemicals were, to which the answer from Pakistan comes that that the girl should be “nice and beautiful and honest because we marry in life only once.”

The security service feared that a reference to “girls mostly like guys with car” referred to a possible car bomb and the constant reference to weddings and parties, to the attack itself.

Telegraph : Cars and girls: email 'codewords’ that put MI5 on terrorist alert

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cars and girls: email 'codewords’ that put MI5 on terrorist alert

By Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent | July 30, 2009

A Muslim terrorist suspect sent coded emails to an al-Qaeda commander in which references to his impending marriage were in fact details of a planned bomb attack in Britain, MI5 has claimed.

The messages, intercepted by the security service, allegedly showed that an extremist cell in Manchester was communicating with a commander in Pakistan to execute an Easter bombing campaign.

The emails, written by a 23-year-old Pakistani student, appeared to refer to several girlfriends and plans to buy a car. But the Home Office claimed that the text was code for a car-bomb attack intended to take place within days.

It led to the largest terrorist alert in Britain for two years and a series of arrests, which were brought forward after Bob Quick, the then head of counter-terrorism at the Metropolitan Police, was pictured walking into Downing Street holding a piece of paper disclosing details of the operation, code-named Pathway.

Police across the North West moved in to arrest 11 students on April 8. During subsequent raids, officers found an A-to-Z with streets marked, photographs of shopping centres and a video of the men on a trip to the Welsh countryside. However, they found no evidence of bomb-making and none of the men was charged with terrorism offences.

On Monday, the eight emails were presented in evidence to a special hearing before a high court judge to decide whether the men should be deported.

MI5 believed that girls’ names were used to refer to chemicals and that talk of a “wedding” was actually a reference to the bombing itself. In one of the messages, allegedly sent to an al-Qaeda commander in Pakistan, the student, alleged to have been the leader of the cell, wrote that he planned to get married in 12 to 17 days. That caused alarm among the security services who feared an attack was imminent.

The Government is now attempting to have 10 men, who entered the country on student visas, deported to Pakistan, claiming they are a threat to national security.

In legal documents submitted by Robin Tam QC, for the Home Secretary, the Government maintained that the men were members of a “UK-based network involved in terrorist operational activity in the UK, most likely attack planning” and that the network was “directed by al-Qaeda based overseas”.

MI5 believes that the 23-year-old student, who cannot be named but is referred to as XC, was the “linchpin” of the group.

Eight men are appealing against deportation at the tribunal, including XC, Abdul Wahab Khan, Shoaib Khan, Mohammed Ramzan, Ahmed Faraz Khan and Tariq ur-Rehman, who has returned to Pakistan voluntarily.

Two others, Janas Khan and Sultan Sher, have been bailed pending deportation for visa irregularities, although the Government still maintains that they were “involved in an extreme Islamist network”. A British man, Hamza Shinwari, was released without further action being taken.

The men claim they were just friends and the trip to Wales was for sightseeing and playing cricket. Pictures in which they posed as “commandos” were just for fun, they said.

Richard Hermer QC, for XC, said that the Government’s evidence was of a “pitiful quality” and that the investigation by MI5 had been “at best incompetent”. “Despite what we assume was the most rigorous of counter-terrorism investigations, not one jot of evidence was found of bomb-making,” he said.

The Government’s case would “dissolve” if a thorough examination was made of XC’s internet use, which comprised hundreds of emails and visits to Muslim chat rooms in connection with a relationship, Mr Hermer said.

He added that, through text messages on XC’s mobile phone, police had traced a young woman who confirmed they were in a relationship and considering marriage.

The men were all denied bail yesterday pending a full hearing in March or April next year.

Telegraph : Manchester 'terror plot': problems MI5 face with intercepting emails

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Manchester 'terror plot': problems MI5 face with intercepting emails

By Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent | July 30, 2009

On the face of it a series of emails that compare the merits of girls who are “gorgeous” or “weak and difficult to convince” would not be the kind of thing to spark a nationwide terrorist alert.

The difficulty MI5 and GCHQ have always faced is trying to sift innocuous communications from those that may contain vital information on a potential attack and then to de-code them.

Their starting point has to be in identifying their targets and these days that is followed by a request for warrants to tap into emails.

Once that is done all the email traffic requested is diverted from the internet server to an analyst whose job it is to sift the humdrum from crucial intelligence.

In some cases they can spot a series of give away indications that are supposed to flag up to the recipient that this is an important email.

These emails contain some of those, although we cannot reveal what they are.

Another indication is a series of exchanges that do not seem to discuss anything, often sandwiched between platitudes and meaningless greetings.

The analysts are well practiced at attempting to decode the cryptic language used by al-Qaeda.

In the past terrorist have used the words “come over” even though they were on different continents – meaning “go on-line” – while others have talked in street slang using the term “nigga” and “BigDawg” to disguise their purpose.

The use of girls’ names is also a popular device designed to persuade anyone intercepting the emails that the senders are more interested in earthly pursuits than terrorism.

The problem is that the emails may not contain incriminating information at all, and in this case the decision to move in has resulted in a tussle in the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) rather than the courts.

SIAC has the advantage of being able to hear information such as these emails behind closed doors but the crucial information they will want to know is who was receiving them.

Despite the lack of convictions and the men’s vehement protestations of innocence in Britain and Pakistan, MI5 feel vindicated. They maintain these men were connected to al-Qaeda and were planning an attack, and the fact that did not go ahead is enough for them.

Dawn : Bail pleas of seven students rejected in Britain

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bail pleas of seven students rejected in Britain

By M. Ziauddin | July 30, 2009

LONDON: The Special Immigration Appeals Commission on Wednesday rejected bail applications of all seven Pakistani students originally arrested along with three of their other countrymen on suspicion of being involved in terrorism activities but later released for want of actionable evidence and ordered to be deported on the grounds of national security.

Their appeals against deportation orders will now come up for hearing not before April 2010 when they would be completing almost one full year in detention since their arrest in April this year.

Out of the 10 arrested students one has already left for Pakistan voluntarily and two were released earlier this month on bail but are under police surveillance round the clock.

Soon after it was found that the students were arrested without any hard evidence, the British Home Office, looking for a face-saver, tried to rush the Pakistan government into signing a MoU under which it would be obliged not to arrest or torture any Pakistani the British government would deport on grounds of national security.

Islamabad refused to sign any such document on the grounds that if anyone was deported for being a threat to UK’s national security he would be as much a threat to its security because Pakistan was a front-line state in the war against terrorism.

Sibghatullah Kadri QC, who appeared pro bono on behalf of one of the detainees, told Dawn after the bail application was rejected that this was the first time in his legal career in the UK spanning over almost half a century that he found the ‘fair-minded’ British legal system trying to hide behind highly unfair rules.

‘It is nothing but pure pique on the part of British Home Office,’ he said. ‘Having failed to obtain a face saver from Pakistan the HO was now bent upon destroying the lives and the careers of the seven students,’ he added.

He was not sure if the appeals against deportation orders would come up for hearing even in April 2010, ‘I think they don’t have any intention of releasing them on bail and under the law they cannot deport them unless Pakistan agrees to sign an unfair agreement so I suspect that they would shut the doors on these students and throw the keys.’

Top News (India) : Britain denies bail to cleared Pakistani ''terror suspect'' students

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Britain denies bail to cleared Pakistani ''terror suspect'' students

Submitted by Mohit Joshi | July 30, 2009

July 30 : British authorities have denied bail to Pakistani students detained earlier this year on national security grounds in simultaneous raids conducted across the country.

The Special Immigration Appeals Commission after hearing the bail pleas of two students, Muhammad Ramazan and Ahmad Faraz at the Royal Courts of Justice here, refused to grant bail in all seven cases levied against them, The Daily Times reports.

The commission also turned down the application filed by other two students, Abdul Wahab Khan and Shoaib Khan filed earlier in the week.

Hearing the bail pleas, Justice Mitting said that none of the applications were viable for bail, and said: "Full reasons will be given in due course'.

It may be recalled that 12 students were arrested in raids across Britain in April. Ten out of the 12 taken into custody were Pakistanis, who had come to Britain on student visas.

After three weeks of intense interrogation all charges against the students were dropped in May due to lack of evidence.

However, they have been kept locked in high-security prisons under immigration laws, and handed over to the UK Borders Agency for deportation. (ANI)

Pakistan Times : Bail plea of Pakistani students in UK rejected

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bail plea of Pakistani students in UK rejected

'Pakistan Times' UK Bureau | July 30, 2009

LONDON (UK): The bail applications moved by incarcerated Pakistani students - detained by the British authorities on reasons of national security - have been refused by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission.

The Commission at the Royal Courts of Justice in Central London heard bail applications of Muhammad Ramazan and Ahmad Faraz in open and secret sessions and refused bail in all the seven cases.

The bail applications on behalf of Abdul Wahab Khan and Shoaib Khan which were moved Tuesday by Barrister Sigbhatullah Kadri and solicitor Amjad Malik were also turned down and as that of Abid Naseer which was submitted on Monday.

The solicitors for Rizwan Sharif and Muhammad Farooq did not apply for bail today but according to Amjad Malik, Justice Mitting turned all applications down saying “none admitted to bail and full reasons will be given in due course.”

The students were among 12 persons arrested last April in a security swoop across north west England by the British anti-terror units.After three weeks, the charges were dropped on lack of evidence but the students - ten of whom hailing from NWFP - were handed over to the UK Borders Agency for deportation.

One of them Tariq-ur-Rehman returned home last month on his own after the British authorities agreed to withdraw deportation charges. The authorities have already released two other students Janas Khan and Sher Khan from detention.

Daily Times : Britain refuses bail to Pakistani students

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Britain refuses bail to Pakistani students

APP | Thursday, July 30, 2009

LONDON: The Special Immigration Appeals Commission on Wednesday refused bail applications moved by Pakistani students, detained by the British authorities for "posing a high risk" to the UK national security.

The commission at the Royal Courts of Justice in Central London heard bail pleas by Muhammad Ramazan and Ahmad Faraz in open and secret sessions and refused bail in all seven cases. The bail applications on behalf of Abdul Wahab Khan and Shoaib Khan, which were moved on Tuesday by Barrister Sigbhatullah Kadri and solicitor Amjad Malik, and that of Abid Naseer – submitted on Monday – were also turned down.

The attorneys for Rizwan Sharif and Muhammad Farooq did not apply for bail on Wednesday but according to Amjad Malik, Justice Mitting turned all applications down saying "none admitted to bail and full reasons will be given in due course".

The students were among 12 people arrested last April in a security swoop across north-west England by the British anti-terror units. After three weeks, the charges were dropped due to lack of evidence but the students, 10 of whom hailing from the NWFP, were handed over to the UK Borders Agency for deportation. One of them, Tariqur Rehman, returned home last month on his own after the British authorities agreed to withdraw deportation charges. The authorities have already released two other students – Janas Khan and Sher Khan.