18 June 2006
18 June 2006
Sunday Mirror (IK)
EXCLUSIVE: WAS MI5 TRIGGER FOR BUNGLED TERROR SWOOP.. A PRISONER WITH I.Q. OF 69
By Susie Boniface
MAN with an IQ of just 69 is believed to be the trigger behind the bungled terror raid in Forest Gate, East London.
Ex-waiter Mohammed Abu Bakr Mansha, 22, was a childhood pal of the two brothers arrested in the dawn swoop by police two weeks ago.
In January he was jailed for six years for terror offences - and even described in court as an "utter incompetent".
Soon afterwards, friends of brothers Abul Kahar, 23, and Abul Koyair, 20, visited him at top-security Belmarsh, South-East London.
And, the Sunday Mirror has learned, that meeting sparked a surveillance operation on the men by the security services. According to a friend of the brothers, they laughed at constantly being followed. Our source said: "It was so obvious we treated it as a joke."
Then new information came through, said to include detailed drawings of a suicide vest.
That led to Operation Volga - the botched police operation to arrest the brothers, which led to Kahar being shot. After seven days in custody they were released without charge amid claims of incompetence and brutality.
Friends of the men believe dim Mansha was the trigger for the extraordinary operation.
Mansha's lawyer Sara O'Keefe revealed how her client was moved just before the raid from high-security category 'A' Belmarsh to a softer category 'B' jail. She did not know why he got the favourable treatment, or whether he unwittingly helped MI5. Told that the brothers knew they were being followed she said: "That sounds about right."
Mansha - serving six years for possessing an old address of a British Army war hero, which police suspected was part of a terror plot - is appealing against his sentence. His trial revealed him to be educationally subnormal with an IQ of 69 - compared to the average of 100. In the US that would make his court evidence unreliable.
If Mansha is confirmed as the trigger for the raid, it will be hugely humiliating for the security services in their battle against terror.
Police and intelligence officials claim the information was from a reliable single source who knew the brothers and whom the security services had dealt with before.
But our probe suggests that if Mansha was at the centre of the investigation, the intelligence is highly suspect and deeply embarrassing for MI5. Vajahat Sharif, lawyer for one brother, slammed the "scattergun" approach, saying it would lead to police targeting more innocent people. He said: "Where does this stop? What about Mansha's friends, family or neighbours? They know him, so presumably they're terrorists."
|Forest Gate Muslin Demonstration 18 June 2006|