Wed Dec 13th, 2006 at 01:18:49 PM EST
I don't have time to write more about this, but I've been following with some interest the aftermath of this Summer's terror hysteria, with the suspicion that there was really no serious plot of any sort.
So I'm not entirely surprised to see that the BBC is reporting that a Pakistani judged has ruled that there is not only not enough evidence to convict the alleged ringleader, there is no real evidence at all.
The arrest of Rashid Rauf in Pakistan triggered arrests in the United Kingdom of a number of suspects allegedly plotting to blow up transatlantic flights.
The Pakistani authorities described him as a key figure.
But an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi found no evidence that he had been involved in terrorist activities or that he belonged to a terrorist organisation.
As well as forgery charges, Mr Rauf has also been charged with carrying explosives.
But his lawyer says police evidence amounts only to bottles of hydrogen peroxide found in his possession.
Hydrogen peroxide is a disinfectant that can be used for bomb-making if other chemicals are added.
Peroxide can also be used as a mouth wash. I have some bottles (plural) in my bathroom. I suppose it's lucky the police don't know this.
While UK prosecutions will supposedly go ahead, this seems to be part of a clear pattern to either lie about non-existent terror scares, or - more generously - to take misleading intelligence at face value.
Not only were the scary brown people - with beards, no less - involved in the Forest Gate incident completely innocent; in fact they were innocent, to the extent that Commissioner Sir Ian Blair offered a formal apology to the victims. Although not, alas, to the public for the £2 million that were wasted.
But there are also some interesting questions about how exactly one of them came to be in possession of child pornography - which was touted for a while as a justifcation for the raid, when the terror angle clearly wouldn't stick - while lacking the knowledge to download it.
Police said computer and electrical equipment had been seized during the search of Mr Kahar's house and passed to the Child Abuse Investigation Command for further examination.
On Friday a Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) spokesman said 44 indecent images of children had been found in the memories of a Dell computer, an external computer hard-drive and various mobile phones.
Of the total, 23 had been "embedded" images - which could have been inadvertently downloaded on the back of other computer files - and 21, on the external hard-drive and a Nokia 3G mobile, had been "deleted".
The spokesman said: "To transfer to the phone, the suspect would have to have specialist knowledge.
"There was no evidence that Mr Kahar had possession of, or access to, equipment or the technical knowledge to do so."
My prediction is that those involved in the Summer terror plot will turn out to be similarly innocent. Or at least, the only charges that will stick will prove that the most exciting thing they'll have done is bought some peroxide in bulk.
I suppose it's possible that the Pakistani decision is really part of a government and ISI plot to cover up a prospective attack.
But I'd rather take the decision at face value. And hope the UK legal system has as much of a sense of justice as the Pakistani one.