Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Liquid Bomber case goes 'poof'--no kidding, eh?

Remember the apoplexy over the 'liquid bombers,' last August? Remember this guy, Rashid Rauf? [11 Aug 2006 BBC News]
Pakistan's Foreign Ministry has named one of the two British nationals of Pakistani origin arrested in connection with an alleged UK plot to bomb planes. He is identified as Rashid Rauf. Both men were picked up in the cities of Lahore and Karachi last week. They were among seven people arrested in Pakistan. Intelligence officials later said more Pakistanis had been arrested in the east of the country in connection with aircraft terror plot.[...] UK police are questioning 23 people over the alleged plot to attack planes flying from the UK to the US.
Funny story...Pakistan's dismissing the terrorism charges against Rauf [13 Dec 2006 NY Times]:
A judge threw out terrorism charges on Wednesday against Rashid Rauf, a Briton of Pakistani descent whom prosecutors depicted as a major figure in a plot to smuggle liquid explosives onto trans-Atlantic airliners and detonate the bombs in flight.
The ruling means there are now no terrorism charges against two people once accused of being linchpins of a major bombing plot by Al Qaeda. The other is Tayib Rauf, Mr. Rauf’s younger brother, who was detained in Britain in August and was soon set free without charge.
[...] Reports of a bombing conspiracy created powerful strains between American and British investigators over the timing of a crackdown on suspects in which British authorities rounded up 25 people on Aug. 9 and 10, later charging 17 of them. The other eight, including Tayib Rauf, were set free without charges.
British officials involved in the case said that American investigators had pushed for quicker arrests but that the British had wanted to wait to gather admissible evidence.[...] Mr. Rauf has not been charged in Britain in connection with any airline plot, and a Home Office spokeswoman said no extradition request had been made in relation to a plot.
When I first blogged about this, I linked to an NBC news report explaining why the British were irritated by the timing of the "liquid bomb announcement." At the time, the Brits were worried that the US would "render" Rauf or "pressure the Pakistani government to arrest him." And, as surely as lunch follows breakfast, there were the reports of torture:
"“When they interrogated Rauf he broke. He told them what we believe was not even in the knowledge of the US and the British "— that they were actually planning to blow up airliners,"” one of the [British] officials said. "“When they had finished interrogating him for three or four days then they coordinated this information with the British authorities and they carried out the arrests in Britain,"” the official added.
Yes, I realize that >15 guys remain under investigation in the UK...all of a sudden I feel the need to 'Google Alert' each of their names. Stay tuned.
[UPDATE 12:09 AM 14 Dec/06]: Winter Patriot has much more background (promoted from his comments):
Today one British report is saying the dismissal of the charges against Rashid Rauf paves the way for an extradition -- so maybe it didn't really go POOF after all ... I'm not sure how they figured this out or whether they're right but that's what they're saying.
There's been a lot of lying and a lot of confusion about this case, all over the place. For instance, the piece you quoted from Dawn says Rashid was tortured for three or four days and then spilled the names of the others. But many of the early reports indicated that Rashid was arrested on the 9th of August and of course all the others were arrested on the 9th and 10th, so where are those three or four days?
There is much more to read on his blog--thanks, WP!

3 Comments:

Blogger Winter Patriot said...

Hi! Thanks for this post. and BTW ... LOL -- I loved your your closing line!

I've had google alerts set for the names of everybody who was arrested in August, since August. There's been lots to talk about but it has come in spurts. The media cap that was put in place at the end of August has been very effective for the most part.

Today one British report is saying the dismissal of the charges against Rashid Rauf paves the way for an extradition -- so maybe it didn't really go POOF after all ... I'm not sure how they figured this out or whether they're right but that's what they're saying.

There's been a lot of lying and a lot of confusion about this case, all over the place. For instance, the piece you quoted from Dawn says Rashid was tortured for three or four days and then spilled the names of the others. But many of the early reports indicated that Rashid was arrested on the 9th of August and of course all the others were arrested on the 9th and 10th, so where are those three or four days?

I've been following this case very closely and have written quite a bit about it. If you are interested in the whole nine yards, here is the best place to start.

If you want a summary of the most salient points (IMVHO) then this relatively short post is probably your best bet.

Of course if you're not interested at all, don't click anywhere. ;-)

Obviously, I think this is a very important story and I would like to see it get as much coverage as possible. So thanks again for blogging about it, and best wishes.

WP

12/13/2006 11:34 PM  
Blogger Godammitkitty said...

Wow--thanks for all of the links & extra background, WP! I'm off to your site, post-haste & I'll be sure to post updates here. All the best, GDK

12/14/2006 12:08 AM  
Anonymous skdadl said...

Close reader just following along here.

12/19/2006 4:11 AM  

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