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Hoist on their own petard

The Blair Government seemed to be at pains last month to warn the British public to be prepared for terrorist attacks. This warning was given some semblance of credence by the arrest of six North Africans in connection with an alleged plot to release poison gas in the London Underground network during the rush hour, and the Home Office sounded an alert over the poison gas threat shortly afterwards. Later, this announcement of a possible poison gas attack was withdrawn - which all seemed rather strange.

Of the six men arrested, three were charged under the Prevention of Terrorism Act with possession of articles for terrorist purposes. All three were reported to be unemployed and were picked up as a result of police raids on various addresses in North London known to be used as drop-ins by Algerian, Moroccan and Tunisian immigrants. Some press reports hinted that the prosecutions of the three could fail, which prompts the thought that the evidence of their alleged intentions could not be very firm. Again, all rather strange.

It is early to jump to conclusions about all this, but because we have a prime minister and a government who simply cannot be trusted to tell the truth we should be very much on our guard - and not just against terrorists. Are Tony & Co. uneasy about the British public's enthusiasm (or lack of it) for the pending war against Iraq? Have they been seized by the itch to say something or do something which they hope will generate the desired war hysteria? With these people, anything is possible. Of course, such terrorist threats as they are now highlighting would most probably come from Al-Qaida, whereas the war they are trying to whip everyone up to support would be against Saddam Hussein. Maybe, though, our lords and masters have so low an estimate of the public's intelligence that they think the difference will not be noticed. The important thing, from their point of view, would be to stoke up a state of anti-terrorist fever in the country calculated to reduce the people to a state of such alarm and paranoia that they will back just about anything the Government proposes - including, of course, an attack on Iraq. After all, it's all about Muslims and the Middle East, innit?

Thinking Britons, however, will notice two things that Blair and his cohorts would prefer they ignore. They involve the ‘Why’ and the ‘How’ - or what in crime-detection circles are classified as Motive and Opportunity.

Just why would Islamic militants put themselves at risk in bringing terror to Britain? The very simple answer is that Britain is supporting President Bush's drive for war against Iraq and his total, unreserved and uncritical backing for Israel. In that respect, this country differs from its European neighbours like France and Germany, who are not quite so ready to act as America's lackeys and go for ever where it leads. Consequence: Britain could be threatened by terror while they are not.

And what of the ‘How’ - the opportunity? Simple again! The United Kingdom is just teeming with Muslims from every part of the world and of every type. Officially, there are known to be a million here; in reality there are probably many more. They provide a huge pool of potential terrorists and, what with their numbers on the streets and everywhere else, the terrorists among them are all the harder to detect. In the days when this country was blessed with some degree of national sanity and our population was overwhelmingly white, the sight of men of Middle Eastern or Asian appearance in the vicinity of an airport, a railway or tube station or some other large and busy public place would, in the present situation, immediately attract suspicion and thus make apprehension and prevention comparatively easy. Now such people could be up to anything, legal or illegal. They could be shop retailers going to see their suppliers. They could be asylum-seekers on their way to the nearest social security office. They could be folk proceeding to work for some business or organisation run by one of the growing legions of ‘equal-opportunity’ employers. They're bloody everywhere! Who is to know who among them is a terrorist?

For both these things - motive and opportunity, the ‘Why’ and the ‘How’ - we have to thank the present Government and its predecessors, who have been responsible for the policies that have made us an enemy of the billion-plus people of the Islamic world and who have enabled a portion of that billion plus to encamp here and multiply.

Remember this when Tony next starts sounding the alarm about Islamic terror!

Memories of Cap'n Bob

When Labour Party MP, press czar and international crook Robert Maxwell was fished out of the Atlantic eleven years ago last month the media were almost, though not quite, unanimous in their verdict that he had committed suicide. Maxwell's business empire was on the skids, and his creditors were closing in on him. He had done himself in because he could see no other escape.

Spearhead was one of the very few publications to disagree. In this very column in our December 1991 issue we said:-

‘One agency which might have had a reason to bump off Maxwell, as well as the necessary means of doing so, is the very Israeli Secret Service Mossad with whom the late press baron's name has been linked...’

We went on to suggest that Maxwell, through these very links, had information on Mossad which if disclosed could be highly embarrassing. Hence a strong motive for getting rid of him.

Now, more than a decade on, there is confirmation that we were almost certainly right. In a two-part story by Gordon Thomas and Martin Dillon published in the Daily Mail last month, it was revealed that Maxwell, desperate for an immediate £400 million to prop up his empire, asked for help from Mossad, which was and is, of course, an arm of the Israeli Government. When the plea fell on deaf ears, Maxwell started to get threatening, in other words to apply blackmail. He said he would blow the whistle on Mossad in respect of the numerous operations in which he had been engaged on its behalf. This, of course, was an extremely unwise thing to do when dealing with an organisation of that kind, but Cap'n Bob did just that - showing that, clever though he was, he had a blind spot. Mossad duly did as one would expect them to do in such circumstances. A party of ‘specialists’ boarded his yacht, plunged a poisoned needle into the back of his neck and dumped him overboard.

In the second instalment of this story, published on the 13th November, a fascinating account was given of Maxwell's double life as ‘British’ press lord and Israeli agent with contacts in the world's main capitals and with virtually all the really powerful people of his time, including the head of the KGB, one Vladimir Kryuchkov. Of all his comings and goings world-wide, the most revealing was the story of his activities as a super-salesman for a computer software programme called Promis, which had been developed by an American inventor but was eagerly taken up by the Israeli Secret Service, one of whose chiefs, Rafi Eitan, saw its immense possibilities for international espionage. In the Daily Mail story Promis was described as "one of the most potent spying tools ever created." It went on to say:-

‘It could keep track of terrorists and drug-runners by tracing everything from credit card receipts to how much electricity was being used in a suspect's home.

‘It could observe movements in and out of bank accounts anywhere in the world, and even adjust the settings on missiles in a nuclear submarine. In short, it could revolutionise intelligence-gathering.’

The story went on to describe how Eitan visited the US posing as a public prosecutor from the Israeli Ministry of Justice. With such credentials, he apparently had access just about anywhere and everywhere in the country that mattered. He spirited off a copy of the software from the American Justice Department. Back in Israel, the story continued, "the software was redesigned with new elements to make it impossible for the Americans to claim ownership." And it went on:-

‘Then Eitan delivered his master-stroke. A high-level "trap door" was inserted into the system that would allow Israeli intelligence to access whatever information was being tracked by its user. Eitan's plan was to sell the doctored software around the world, knowing that any country that bought it would be inviting Israel to spy on them - and paying for the privilege.’

There was just one thing needed: a master salesman who would flog the programme to the world's intelligence services while not disclosing any links with Israeli intelligence. Enter Robert Maxwell, who had his own company, Degem Computers, under the guise of which the whole project could be made to appear no more than a normal commercial enterprise.

For all this, Cap'n Bob raked in a profit of 15 per cent on every sale. He sold the programme to intelligence-gathering services all over the world, including Britain and the United States (in the latter case with the help of a ‘bought’ Senator). Needless to say, he made many millions.

It all boils down to this. Through the brains of Eitan and the persuasive tongue of Robert Maxwell, Israeli intelligence had a device which enabled them to pirate information from intelligence services of many nations without the latter being in the slightest way aware of the fact.

The big question remaining to be asked is: just why should a tiny nation in the Middle East wish to tap into intelligence services all over the world as if it were at war with the nations concerned?

And from that question another arises. In going to war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq on the pretext that it is in possession of equipment which could damage us, are we by-passing a far more dangerous target?

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