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5:00 PM - Jul 13, 2015 #379

Case notes from the European Court Hearing of the appeal by Abdulla Ali:


(Application no. 30971/12)



30 June 2015

This judgment will become final in the circumstances set out in Article 44 § 2 of the Convention. It may be subject to editorial revision.

In the case of Abdulla Ali v. the United Kingdom,

The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:

          Guido Raimondi, President,
          Päivi Hirvelä,
          George Nicolaou,
          Ledi Bianku,
          Paul Mahoney,
          Krzysztof Wojtyczek,
          Faris Vehaboviæ, judges,
and Françoise Elens-Passos, Section Registrar,

Having deliberated in private on 9 June 2015,

Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:


1.  The case originated in an application (no. 30971/12) [^] against the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) by a British national, Mr Abdulla Ahmed Ali (“the applicant”), on 15 May 2012.

2.  The applicant was represented by Ms G. Pierce, of Birnberg Peirce & Partners, a firm of solicitors based in London. The United Kingdom Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agents, Mr D. Walton and subsequently Mr P. McKell, of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

3.  The applicant alleged, relying on Article 6 § 1 of the Convention, that adverse publicity between his first trial and his retrial denied him a fair trial by an impartial tribunal.

4.  On 1 October 2013 the complaint was communicated to the Government. On the same date, by a partial decision, the Court declared inadmissible the complaints of four other applicants [^].


19.  Henriques J summarised the seven examples of inadmissible material which had been published by the press to which the defence had referred by way of illustrative examples. He stressed that this was “by no means the totality of the information complained of”.

20.  The first example concerned disclosure of evidence not adduced at trial as to the applicant being in telephone contact with the leader of the 21 July 2005 failed bombings of the London transport system. The statement appeared in almost every national paper and on national media. It was attributed to different sources in different publications, including, inter alia, senior detectives, police, “records show” and counter- terrorism  officials.

21.  The second example concerned disclosure of evidence not adduced at trial as to deeper links between some of the applicants and others convicted of terrorist offences. This included evidence that the applicant had taken trips to Pakistan at the same time as those responsible for the explosions on the London transport system on 7 July 2005 and the failed 21 July bombing attempt and had been in regular telephone contact with the ringleader of the latter attack. The story was published in virtually every national newspaper and was broadcast on national media. It was attributed to, variously, detectives, intelligence officials, counter- terrorism  sources, investigators and trial officials.

22.  The third example concerned disclosure of evidence not adduced at trial as to the defendants’ acquaintance and contact with a certain Rashid Rauf in Pakistan, who had allegedly put them in touch with Al-Qaeda’s leadership. This had been published in almost every national newspaper and broadcast on national media. Some of the attributed sources included the Pakistani Interior Minister, British officials, intelligence services, internal US intelligence documents, security sources and named senior officials in the United Kingdom and the United States.

23.  The fourth example concerned assertions which were not the subject of evidence or disclosure at trial that the plot might have been overseen by Abu Ubaydah Al Masri, the former head of Al-Qaeda’s external operations, who had allegedly overseen the July 2005 London bombing plots. The information was carried by several newspapers and was attributed, inter alia, to the police, counter- terrorism  officials, intelligence agencies and senior British and American officials.

24.  The fifth example concerned assertions which were not the subject of evidence or disclosure at trial that the alleged plot was disrupted following interception of a text message encouraging the conspirators to act. There was also reference to telephone calls and text messages between the UK and Pakistan and a specific incriminating text sent to the applicant. These were published in some national newspapers and broadcast on television, with the attributed source being a British Government source.

25.  The sixth example concerned assertions which were not the subject of evidence or disclosure at trial that the telephones of unspecified defendants were being intercepted by the police and that interception had revealed that a dummy run was being planned. Several newspapers and media sources carried the story, with the source being variously named as the police, counter- terrorism  police and the head of Counter- Terrorism  Command.

26.  The seventh example concerned assertions that the United States Government had pressed Pakistan into making arrests before all the legal evidence had been gathered. The information was reported in several newspapers and by several broadcasters. A terrestrial television channel carried the express statement that the British State authorities had reason to delay the effecting of arrests owing to known intelligence that the conspirators would perform additional incriminating acts in furtherance of the airline conspiracy. The source was said to be the head of Counter- Terrorism  Command, US sources, senior British police and counter- terrorism  sources, and the former shadow Minister for Homeland Security in the United Kingdom.


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The application was declared admissible, which means that it was not thrown out. Not sure what the next stage is?

So the case notes show that the UK media were fed by the police, counter- terrorism officials, intelligence agencies and senior British and American officials all sorts of prejudical juicy information to 'big up' the case against the alleged airline plotters.

Remember also that this case featured an article published in the US, which was banned in the UK. Here is a copy of the NYT article from August 28, 2006, courtesy of The Postman:
Monday, August 28, 2006
New York Times interferes in UK criminal case against terrorists deliberately

Today is a Public Holiday in the UK. An ideal day for the UK Gubment to allow a "leak" that "emerged" in discussions with "high ranking British, European and American officials last week" by Don Van Natta Jr. Elaine Sciolino and Stephen Grey of the New York Times Pages A 1 / A 8 in pole position in the top left front page. Thus continuing the dishonourable method of subverting the UK court proceedings against alleged conspiracy for murder, bombing aircraft etc.,

The blatancy of this attempt is made even more apparent by the boxed warning on Page A8. See pic above.

So those "high ranking British, European and American officials last week" knew exactly what they were doing. They also knew that by releasing information to the Press that they had gained from their employment without approval was a breach of the criminal law, their employment terms and conditions and would also prejudice the trial proceedings of the defendents currently charged.

As such they should be investigated and charged under disciplinary rules and by the courts for subverting the course of justice in a criminal case.

But they won't be.

Here is the story. Please have patience, Lord Patel whilst travelling does not have access to a scanner and is a crap typist. Also for some peculiar reason Blogger is playing silly buggars today.

In Tapes, Receipts and Diary, Details of British Inquiry Into suspected Terror Plot
Martydom Motive and 'Bomb Factory' Cited

This article was reported and written by Don Van Natta Jr.,Elaine Sciolino and Stephen Grey. (Extra reporting for this article was contributed by William J Broad from New York, Carlotta Gail from Pakistan, David Johnston and Mark Mazzetti from Washington.)

LONDON, Aug. 27 - On Aug. 9, in a small second-floor apartment in East London, two young Muslim Inen recorded a video justifying what the police say was their suicide plot to blow up trans-Atlantic planes: revenge against the United States and its "accomplices," Britain and the Jews.

"As you bomb, you will be bombed; as you kill, you will be killed," said one of the men on a "martyrdom" videotape, whose contents were described by a senior British official and a person briefed about the case. The young man added that he hoped God would be "pleased with us and accepts our deed."

As it happened, the police had been monitoring the apartment with hidden video and audio equipment. Not long after the tape was recorded that day. Scotland Yard decided to shut down what they suspected was a terrorist cell. That action set off a chain of events that raised the terror threat levels in Britain and the United States, barred passengers from taking liquids on airplanes and plunged air traffic into chaos around the world.

The ominous language of seven recovered martyrdom videotapes is among new details that emerged from interviews with high-ranking British, European and American officiais last week, demonstrating that the suspects had made considerable progress toward planning a terrorist attack. Those details include fresh evidence from Britain's most wideranging terror investigation: receipts for cash transfers from abroad, a handwritten diary that appears to sketch out elements of a plot, and, on martyrdom tapes, several suspects' statements of their motives.

But at the same time, five senior British officials said, the suspects were not prepared to strike immediately. Instead, the reactions of Britain and the United States in the wa.l{e of the arrests of 21 people on Aug. 10 were driven less by information I about a specific, imminent attack than fear that other, unknown terrorists might strike.

The suspects had been working for months out of an apartment that investigators called the "bomb factory," where the police watched as the suspects experimented with chemicals, according to British officials and others briefed on the evidence, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity, citing British rules on confidentiality regarding criminal prosecutions.

In searches during raids, the police discovered what they said were the necessary components to make a highly volatile liquid explosive known as HMTD, jihadist materials, receipts of Western Union money transfers, seven martyrdom videos made by six suspects and the last will and testament of a would-be bomber, senior British officials said.

One of the suspects said on his martyrdom video that the "war against Muslims" in Iraq and Afghanistan had motivated him to act.

Investigators say they believe that one of the leaders of the group, an unemployed man in his 20's who was living in a modest apartment on government benefits, kept the key to the alleged "bomb factory" and helped others record martyrdom videos, the officials said.

Hours after the police arrested the 21 suspects, police and government officials in both countries said they had intended to carry out the deadliest terrorist attack since Sept. 11.

Later that day, Paul Stephenson, deputy chief of the Metropolitan Police in ondon, said the goal of the people suspected of plotting the attack was "mass murder on an unimaginable scale." On the day of the arrests, some officials estimated that as many as 10 planes were to be blown up, possibly over American cities. Michael Chertoff, the secretary of the Department of omeland Security, described the suspected plot as "getting really quite close to the execution stage." But British officials said the suspects still had a lot of work to do. Two of the suspects did not have passports, but had applied for expedited approval. One official said the people suspected of leading the plot were still recruiting and radicalizing would-be members.

While investigators found evidence on a computer memory stick indicating that one the men had looked up airline schedules for flights from London to cities in the United States, the suspects had neither made reservations nor purchased plane tickets, a British official said. Some of their suspected bomb-making equipment was found five days after the arrests in a suitcase buried under leaves in the woods near High Wycombe, a town 30 miles northwest of London.

Another British official stressed that martyrdom videos were often made well in advance of an attack. In fact, two and a half weeks since the inquiry became public, British investigators have still not determined whether there was a target date for the attacks or how many planes were to be involved. They say the estimate of 10 planes is speculative and exaggerated.

In his first public statement after the alerts, Peter Clarke, chief of counterterrorism for the Metropolitan Police, acknowledged that the police were still investigating the basics: "the number, destination and timing of the flights that might be attacked."

A total of 25 people have been arrested in connection with the suspected plot. Twelve of them have been charged. Eight people were charged with conspiracy to commit murder and preparing acts of terrorism.

Three people were charged with failing to disclose information that could help prevent a terrorist act, and a 17-year-old male suspect was charged with possession of articles that could be used to prepare a terrorist act.

Eight people still in custody have not been charged. Five have been released. All the suspects arrested are British citizens ranging in age from 17 to 35.

Despite the charges, officials said they were still unsure of one critical question: whether any of the suspects was technically capable of assembling and detonating liquid explosives while airborne.

A chemist involved in that part of the inquiry, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was sworn to confidentiality, said HMTD, which can be prepared by combining hydrogen peroxide with other chemicals, "in theory is dangerous," but whether the suspects "had the brights to pull it off remains to be seen."

While officials and experts familiar with the case say the investigation points to a serious and determined group of plotters, they add that questions about the immediacy and difficulty of the suspected bombing plot cast doubt on the accuracy of some of the public statements made at the time.

"In retrospect," said Michael A. Sheehan, the former deputy commissioner of counterterrorism in the New York Police Department, "there may have been too much hyperventilating going on. "

Some of the suspects came to the attention of Scotland Yard more than a year ago, shortly after four suicide bombers attacked three subwav trains and a double-decker bus in Londo~ on July 7, 2005, a coordinated attack that killed 56 people and wounded more than 700. The investigation was dubbed "Operation Overt."

The Police Are Tipped Off

The police were apparently tipped off by informers. One former British counterterrorism official, who was working for the government at the time, said several people living in Waltham stow, a working-class neighborhood in East London, alerted the police in July 2005 about the intentions of a small group of angry young Muslim men.

Walthamstow is best known for its faded greyhound track and the borough of Waltham Forest, where more than 17,000 Pakistani immigrants live in the largest Pakistani enclave in London.

Armed with the tips, MI5, Britain's domestic security services, began an around-the-clock surveillance operation of a dozen young men living in Walthamstow -- bugging their apartments, tapping their phones, monitoring their bank transactions, eavesdropping on their Internet traffic and e-mail messages, even watching where they traveled, shopped and took their laundry, according to senior British officials.

The initial focus of the investigation was not about possible terrorism aboard planes, but an effort to see whether there were any links between the dozen men and the July 7 subway bombers, or terrorist cells in Pakistan, the officials said.

The authorities quickly learned the identity of the man believed to have been the leader of the cell, the unemployed man in his mid-20's, who traveled at least twice within the past year to Pakistan, where his activities are still being investigated.

Last June, a 22-year-old Walthamstow resident, who is among the suspects arrested Aug. 10, paid $260,000 cash for a second-floor apartment in a house on Forest Road, according to official property records. The authorities noticed that six men were regularly visiting the second-floor apartment that came to be known as the "bomb factory," according to a British official and the person briefed about the case.

Two of the men, who were likely the bomb-makers, were conducting a series of experiments with chemicals, said the person briefed on the case.

MI5 agents secretly installed video and audio recording equipment inside the apartment, two senior British officials said. In a secret search conducted before the Aug. 10 raids, agents had discovered that the inside of batteries had been scooped out, and that it appeared several suspects were doing chemical experiments with a sports drink named Lucozade and syringes, the person with knowledge of the case said. Investigators have said they believe that the suspects intended to bring explosive chemicals aboard planes inside sports drink botties.

In that apartment, according to a British official, one of the leaders and a man in his late 20's met at least twice to discuss the suspected plot, as MI5 agents secretly watched and listened. On Aug. 9, just hours before the police raids occurred in 50 locations from East London to Birmingham, the two men met again to discuss the suspected plot and record a martyrdom video.

As one of the men read from a script before a video-camera, he recited a quotation from the Koran and ticked off his reasons for the "action that I am going to undertake," according to the person briefed on the case. The man said he was seeking revenge for the foreign policy of the United States, and "their accomplices, the U.K. and the Jews." The man said he wanted to show that the enemies of Islam would never win this "war."

Beseeching other Muslims to join jihad, he justified the killing of innocent civilians in America and other Western countries because they supported the war against Muslims through their tax dollars. They were too busy enjoying their Western lifestyles to protest the policies, he added. Though British officials usually release little information about continuing investigations, Scotland Yard took the unusual step of disclosing some detailed information about the investigation last Monday, when the suspects were charged.

A Trove of Evidence

"There have been 69 searches," Mr. Clarke, the chief antiterrorist police official from Scotland Yard, said Monday. "These have been in houses, flats and business premises, vehicles and open spaces."

Investigators also seized more than 400 computers, 200 mobile phones and 8,000 items like memory sticks, CD's and DVD's. "The scale is immense." Mr. Clarke said.

"Inquiries will span the globe." He said those searches revealed a trove of evidence, and officials and others last week provided additional details.

Four of the law firms that are defending suspects declined to comment.

When police officers knocked down the door to the second-floor apartment on Forest Road, they found a plastic bin filled with liquid, batteries, nearly a dozen empty drink bottles, rubber gloves, digital scales and a disposable camera that was leaking liquid, the person with knowledge of the case said.

The camera might have been a prototype for a device to smuggle chemicals on the plane.

In the pocket of one of the suspects, the police found the computer memory stick that showed he had looked up airline schedules for flights from London to the United States, a British official said. The man is said to have had a diary that included a list that the police interpreted as a step-by-step plan for an attack. The items included batteries and Lucozade bottles. It also included a reminder to select a date.

In the homes of a number of the suspects, the police found jihadist literature and DVD's about "genocide" in Iraq and Palestine, according to British officials. In one house searched by the police in Walthamstow, the authorities found a copy of a book called "Defense of the Muslim Lands." A "last will and testament" for one of the accused was said to have been found at his brother's home. Dated Sept. 24, 2005, the will concludes, "What should I worry when I die a Muslim, in the manner in which I am to die, I go to my death for the sake of my maker." God, he added, can if he wants "bless limbs torn away!!!"

Looking for Global Ties

In addition, the British authorities are scouring the evidence for clues to whether there is a global dimension to the suspected plot, particularly the extent to which it was planned, financed or supported in Pakistan, and whether there is a connection to remnants of Al Qaeda. They are still trying to determine who provided the cash for the apartment and the computer equipment and telephones, officials said.

Several of the suspects had traveled to Pakistan within weeks of the arrests, according to an American counterterrorism official.

At a minimum, investigators say at least one of the suspects' inspiration was drawn from Al Qaeda. One of the suspects' "kill-as-they-kill" martyrdom video was taken from a November 2002 fatwa by Osama bin Laden.

British officials said many of the questions about the suspected plot remained unanswered because they were forced to make the arrests before Scotland Yard was ready.

The trigger was the arrest in Pakistan of Rashid Rauf, a 25-year-old British citizen with dual Pakistani citizenship, whom Pakistani investigators have described as a "key figure" in the plot.

In 2000, Mr. Rauf's father founded Crescent Relief London, a charity that sent money to victims of last October's earthquake in Pakistan. Several suspects met through their involvement in the charity, a friend of one of them said. Last week, Britain froze the charity's bank accounts and opened an investigation into possible "terrorist abuse of charitable funds." Leaders of the charity have denied the allegations.

Several senior British officials said the Pakistanis arrested Rashid Rauf without informing them first. The arrest surprised and frustrated investigators here who had wanted to monitor the suspects longer, primarily to gather more evidence and to determine whether they had identified all the people involved in the suspected plot.

But within hours of Mr. Rauf's arrest on Aug. 9 in Pakistan, British officials heard from intelligence sources that someone connected to him had tried to contact some of the suspects in East London. The message was interpreted by investigators as a possible signal to move forward with the plot, officials said.

"The plotters received a very short message to 'Go now,' " said Franco Frattini, the European Union's security commissioner, who was briefed by the British home secretary, John Reid, in London. "I was convinced by British authorities that this message exists." A senior British official said the message from Pakistan was not that explicit. But, nonetheless, investigators here had to change their strategy quickly.

"The aim was to keep this operation going for much longer," said a senior British security official who requested anonymity because of confidentiality rules. "It ended much sooner than we had hoped." From then on, the British government was driven by worst-case scenarios based on a minimum-risk strategy.

British investigators worried that word of Mr. Rauf's arrest could push the London suspects to destroy evidence and to disperse, raising the possibility they would not be able to arrest them all. But investigators also could not rule out that there could be an unknown second cell that would try to carry out a similar plan, officials said.

Mr. Clarke, as the country's top antiiterrorism police official in London with authority over police decisions, ordered the arrests.

But it was left to Mr. Reid, who has been home secretary since May and is a former defense secretary, to decide at emergency meetings of police, national security and transoort leaders. what else needed to be done. Mr. Reid and Mr. Clarke declined repeated requests for interviews.

Prime Minister Tony Blair was on vacation in Barbados, where he was said to have monitored events in London; Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott did not attend the meeting.

While the arrests were unfolding, the Home Office raised Britain's terror alert level to "critical," as the police continued their raids of suspects' homes and cars. All liquids were banned from carry-on bags, and some public officials in Britain and the United States said an attack appeared to be imminent. In addition to Mr. Stephenson's remark that the attack would have been "mass murder on an unimaginable scale," Mr. Reid said that attacks were "highly likely" and predicted that the loss of life would have been on an "unprecedented scale." Two weeks later, senior officials here characterized the remarks as unfortunate.

As more information was analyzed and the British government decided that the attack was not imminent, Mr. Reid sought to calm the country by backing off from his dire predictions, while defending the decision to raise the alert level to its highest level as a precaution.

In lowering the threat level from critical to severe on Aug. 14, Mr. Reid acknowledged: "Threat level assessments are intelligence-led. It is not a process where scientific precision is possible. They involve judgments."
More on the decision and a copy of the article here

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In some ways she was far more acute than Winston, and far less susceptible to Party propaganda. Once when he happened in some connection to mention the war against Eurasia, she startled him by saying casually that in her opinion the war was not happening. The rocket bombs which fell daily on London were probably fired by the Government of Oceania itself, "just to keep the people frightened." -- George Orwell, 1984