Saturday, July 21, 2007

Lesson for Terrorism Investigators: Return Those Calls!

Investigations into who did what in the London/Glasgow car bombings of a few weeks ago will probably continue for months to come.

Although nearly a dozen people are suspected of being involved, one or more may be innocent.

Mohamed Haneef, arrested on July 2 as he tried to leave Australia, has been charged with recklessly leaving his mobile phone SIM card with a distant cousin. That cousin's brother was in the Glasgow Jeep, and the SIM card was found in the fire-damaged jeep.

Maybe I'm biased, since I belong to a large extended family, but this charge seems a little goofy. If I understand it, Haneef is charged with:
  • Letting a distant cousin use his SIM card
  • Being the owner of a SIM card that got left in a jeep on the other side of the world
  • Still being the SIM card owner when someone tried to use the jeep to torch an airport terminal
It gets better. Haneef says he tried to call a British officer four times, to clear his name, and that his calls were not returned.

A likely story! However, a police investigation showed that Haneef did call the British officer's number four times on July 2.

At first, I thought that Australian authorities had demonstrated their investigative prowess by intercepting Haneef as he was boarding a plane headed for India: and with a one-way ticket!

It was good police work, in a way, but hardly the sort of thing that legends are made of. "Haneef told police he was leaving Australia to be with his family in Bangalore, where his daughter had been born just days before his arrest. Her stay in hospital was prolonged after complications arose during the Caesarean (!) birth." (AP/

I think even Inspector Lestrad might have been able to intercept the - fugitive? - under those circumstances.

Mohamed Haneef may be guilty of complicity in the car bombings. Or he may not.

I sincerely hope that, either way, he is treated better than Richard Jewell.

More about Mohamed Haneef: Suspect in Failed U.K. Terror Attacks Called British Investigator.

My views on rational investigations and Richard Jewell: Arrests, Doctors and Terrorists: Keeping a Cool Head

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.