I won’t rub it in (again) but we predicted (Thus passim) the release of all 12 ‘terror suspects’ arrested and detained without charge for up to two weeks for the alleged ‘Good Friday Plot‘ to blow up Manchester’s Arndale Centre. Liberal politician and human rights lawyer Alex Carlile is conducting an investigation and review into the bizarre circumstances of this Keystone cops misadventure, which I predict will tell us nothing. The 11 Pakistani nationals (one is a British Asian) who have been handed over to the UK Borders and Immigration authorities now await deportation. In a glowing testament to the transparent democracy which we are forcefully promoting upon countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq, the ‘accused’ will not be told the reasons for their deportation and no evidence will be produced. Thus their appeals process is somewhat compromised.
The default position is that they must be guilty – of something. Being Pakistani will do for starters. A couple came from Peshawar Province, a ‘notorious Taleban stronghold’. Thus reported on April 10 that Liverpool John Moores University, where they were studying, has an official student recruitment agent in Peshawar but this appears to have been overlooked in the ensuing witch hunt. Others allegedly travelled to study in Britain on ‘incorrectly completed immigration forms.’ Phil Woolas, Immigration Minister, whose department is responsible for checking such matters, intemperately pronounced ‘we’ve got them’ (meaning bomb plot terrorists) on the evening of the arrests. If they are indeed guilty of entering the UK on false pretences, for the purpose of terror-related mayhem (no evidence was produced to even hold them for the 28 days permitted) and they do represent a real threat to security, then senior heads should roll in the Borders Agency. If they are innocent, they should be allowed to stay. In summary, logic dictates that Woolas should go if the ‘terror suspects’ are deported.
Woolas, arch advocate of the government’s Identity Card scheme, is an Oldham MP, so it is less than surprising that Manchester has been ‘chosen’ as the testbed city where ‘young people’ aged between 16-25 can voluntarily apply for ID cards (at a cost of £30.00). Foreign nationals have already been obliged to register. The scheme is opposed by Lib-Dems and Tories, who, human rights considerations aside, may not object to ID cards as such, but doubt the government’s ability to deliver the scheme on budget – latest estimates are £5.5 billion, so let’s call it £11 billion – but more importantly, whether the system will further compromise individual data and actually facilitate identity fraud. The half-baked cards which will not carry biometric data until 2015, there will be no new national identity database – the existing government databases are a hacker’s half hour recreation – plus scanners which link to said databases will not be readily available for quite some time. Apart from that, it’s great!
No2ID spokesman, Phil Booth (also based in Manchester) said: “It makes a lie of all these grandiose claims about biometrics if there is not the infrastructure to back it up. . . . It will be a bit of plastic that will be eminently copyable.” He added that employers who doubted the authenticity of the card have been told to ‘flick it to check for a distinctive sound’. File under ‘you couldn’t make it up.’
Along with the Pakistani student bomber farrago, Manchester gave us the imaginary 2002 Old Trafford bomb plot (10 ‘Iraqi Kurds’ released without charge in the runup to the Iraq War) and the curious case of Hassan Butt allegedly a Jihadist turned informer, but by his own admission, a publicity-mad fantasist. Even known mad mullahs, such as Sheikh Bakri Mohammed declared Butt’s claims to be a Taleban recruiter fraudulent, as far back as 2002, but this did not stop the British hounyhmns from hanging on his every word. He – or they – may or may not have been manipulated by the security services, but Manchester police compounded the felony by wasting millions attempting to prosecute Butt and compel the gawps who promoted him to ‘reveal their sources.’ Finally, Manchester had the UK’s highest crime rate in 2007 – another compelling reason to make it the place to launch a hugely costly, half-arsed ID card scheme which is open to widespread abuse. As we said last December, put me down for two, mate.