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United Kingdom Crime

British Police Foil Alleged Mall Massacre Copycat Plot 292

Posted by timothy
from the unless-it's-an-fbi-sting dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Washington Post reports, "British law enforcement agencies averted a plot to orchestrate a large-scale terror attack similar to the assault on Kenya's Westgate mall, an official said Monday. Police were questioning four men in their 20s on suspicion of terrorism after they were detained Sunday in pre-planned, intelligence-led raids. A British security official said the men were planning a shooting spree akin to the Westgate attack in Nairobi, in which at least 67 people died. ... in a series of statements, the force said the men were all British nationals between the ages of 25 and 29, with roots in Turkey, Pakistan, Algeria and Azerbaijan. ... the London police firearms unit took part in the arrests. British police rarely carry weapons and their involvement suggested concern that men might have been armed." — The Sydney Morning Herald has video. Prime Minister Cameron recently expressed concern regarding such a possibility."
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British Police Foil Alleged Mall Massacre Copycat Plot

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  • DOUBLEPLUS (Score:2, Insightful)

    Fake.

    Just like the "terrorists" the FBI keeps "catching".

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      My first thought as well, another attempt to justify spying on everyone. Let's reel in the guys we been pushing and prodding for months into saying something incriminating. I'll wait to see more details before I believe it.

      It's terrible that my first impression on news like this is "ya, right...", especially after the Kenyan incident.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by intermodal (534361)

        It was barely a year ago where I easily dismissed my conspiracy-minded friends saying this stuff. today it makes more sense than any official story I've heard in months.

        • Re:DOUBLEPLUS (Score:4, Insightful)

          by cold fjord (826450) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @05:04PM (#45136591)

          Here is a question for you. Why is it you and the "conspiracy-minded friends" you describe all find it plausible that the government is engaging in conspiracies, but apparently dismiss the possibility that there are terrorists engaging in conspiracies to commit murder and mayhem? It isn't like there isn't a history of plots, attacks, arrests, and convictions of actual and would be terrorists. Why do you, and they, dismiss that evidence? Are we heading down the road of everything being a "false flag".... the plague of Slashdot discussions for so many years in which nothing is what it is? Or is there some other reason? Is there any level of proof that would sway either you or them?

    • Re:DOUBLEPLUS (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cold fjord (826450) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @11:54AM (#45132965)

      Since you keep making these claims, you must have some evidence. Can you present it? Or is this just a crank theory of yours?

      Were the 7/7 London attacks [bbc.co.uk] "fake" too? Including the 52 dead bodies?

      Are the convictions that the police are getting "fake" too?

      London terror bomb plot: the four terrorists [telegraph.co.uk]

      Four men pleaded guilty to plotting a Christmas bomb attack on the London Stock Exchange and causing a 'Mumbai-style' atrocity.

      Fertiliser bomb plot: The story [bbc.co.uk]

      Five men have been convicted of plotting to build a bomb which police say could have killed hundreds of British people. The men were caught after police and MI5 launched a massive surveillance operation.

      Since you're Canadian, perhaps you could comment on this plot. Was it "fake" too?

      Canada jails Toronto truck bomb plotter Zakaria Amara [bbc.co.uk]

      One of the key figures in a conspiracy to set off three truck bombs in Canada has been sentenced to life imprisonment. Zakaria Amara, 24, pleaded guilty in October to co-leading the Islamist militant group dubbed the Toronto 18. The group's targets included the city's stock exchange and a military base.

      These sorts of attacks are consistent with the announced intention of terrorist groups around the world. I think you need to present some evidence rather than simply make proclamations.

    • I've got exactly what you need [urbandictionary.com]! Tinfoil hats are cheap [amazon.co.uk]. They are easy, to make too, it takes less than two [youtube.com] minutes. Don't believe the MIT study [theatlantic.com] that debunks the time honored tinfoil hat, it's a government conspiracy you know!

      Don't worry, there are support groups [meetup.com] for conspiracy theorists! Now I know like any number of other conspiracy theories those pesky facts might get in the way [popularmechanics.com]. However, learn from Joseph Goebbels [psywarrior.com] and don't ever let logic, facts or reality get in your way. I know you look like a raving l

    • Or alternatively, news should be outlawed because it clearly incites people to violence.

    • by sjames (1099)

      Even in TFA they were only accused of planning to plan. AKA daydreaming. Kinda like the stereotypical teen slacker who is thinking about considering looking for a job maybe

  • by swb (14022) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @11:33AM (#45132687)

    Really, it is.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gweihir (88907)

      There are no "religions of peace". What happened to them is that they got wiped out a few thousand years ago by the other religions. Religions are very much subject to evolution. (Which is hysterical, come to think of it.) Today, there are just some that use "peace" as camouflage, but all religion can safely be assumed to be dangerous if the sufferer is deeply infected ("fundamentalist" or "fanatic"). BTW, in this sense, political orientations can qualify as "religion".

      • Today, there are just some that use "peace" as camouflage, but all religion can safely be assumed to be dangerous if the sufferer is deeply infected ("fundamentalist" or "fanatic").

        Your use of the "fundamentalist" label makes your post intellectually lazy drivel filled with the same intolerance you pretend to be against. The word "fundamentalist" generally means a religion has a set of unalterable principles which are not subject to deviation or debate and which serve as a foundation for the practice of that faith and the conduct of adherents. By that measure, the vast majority of Christians, Budhists, Hindus, or "fundamentalist" Atheists for that matter, are not going around killin

        • by gweihir (88907)

          Only flaw: Your statement is not in line with observable reality. Fundamentalists have no tolerance for anybody that thinks differently (including members of the same religion) and are easily incited to kill, maim and slaughter everybody perceived by them to be "different". That is the problem with religion: Depending on infection degree (meme infection), intellectual capabilities, empathy and common decency get suspended and replaced by easy recipes that often involve strong forms of aggression.

          And no, I a

          • Fundamentalists have no tolerance for anybody that thinks differently (including members of the same religion) and are easily incited to kill, maim and slaughter everybody perceived by them to be "different". That is the problem with religion: Depending on infection degree (meme infection), intellectual capabilities, empathy and common decency get suspended and replaced by easy recipes that often involve strong forms of aggression.

            And no, I am not intellectually lazy, rather you did not understand what I wrote.

            I understood what you said as an incredibly narrow characterization of behavior and disposition of people of faith, focused on the limited dimension of aggression in conflict, as if that were the most dominant human social experience. For those of us who live generally full lives with different kinds of interactions, it is not. I've set foot in North, Central, and South America, Asia, Africa, Australia and Europe and have looked different types of people in the face, acknowledge our differences and still

            • by dskoll (99328)

              The problem with religion is that it is practiced by imperfect people

              No, that is not the problem with religion. The problem with religion is that it's based on the existence of a supernatural being that cannot be argued with or disagreed with. This leads weak-minded people into fundamentalist stances.

              Back when the most up-to-date weapons were swords or rocks, religion did not pose a serous threat to civilization. Now that people can get their hands on highly-destructive weapons, religion is simply to

    • by jovius (974690)

      Depends on how religion is applied. The victims of Islamic terrorism are virtually all other muslims (or people who happen to born to a country predominantly muslim), who wish nothing more than to live at peace.

      • by dskoll (99328)

        In the specific case of Westgate, though, the Islamic terrorists specifically targeted non-Muslims. This has been widely reported.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Because of course they uncovered this by spying on citizens, so they really should be able to keep spying on everyone.
    Just think of the malls.

  • More info (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cold fjord (826450) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @11:35AM (#45132723)

    This was a somewhat more exciting series of arrests than usual.

    Police shoot at car in suspected terror raids [telegraph.co.uk]

    Armed police shot at the tyres of a car to stop two suspected terrorists during a dramatic series of raids to foil an alleged plot to attack the UK.

    Officers fired special Hatton rounds – large shotgun ammunition designed to burst tyres or breach doors – to force the vehicle over in east London on Sunday evening. Witnesses also reported seeing police ram the back of the car before it was finally brought to a halt while a helicopter hovered overhead. In simultaneous arrests, armed officers swooped on a man in the street in west London while a fourth man was arrested at a flat south east of the city. A large number of armed officers were used because it was feared the men had access to weapons and were planning a suspected Islamist terror attack, the Daily Telegraph understands.

    The head of MI5 is concerned [independent.co.uk] about the diminishing margin of advantage they have to detect such things in the face of a continuing threat.

    Speaking at the Royal United Services Institute in London, Mr Parker pointed out the statistics of the threat from terrorism faced by the UK. The “plain facts”, he said, were that “from 11 September 2001 to the end of March this year, 330 people were convicted of terrorism related- offences in Britain In the first few months of this year, there were four major trials related to terrorist plots. Since 2000, we have seen serious major acts of terrorism in this country typically once or twice a year.”

    • Re:More info (Score:5, Interesting)

      by AmiMoJo (196126) * <.ten.3dlrow. .ta. .ojom.> on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @01:10PM (#45133815) Homepage

      Since 2000, we have seen serious major acts of terrorism in this country typically once or twice a year.â

      Really? I don't recall one or two major acts of terrorism a year since 2000. In fact I only recall one (7/7), and maybe you could count the bungled attempt to bomb an airport but those guys were laughably dumb. So what are the other 20 odd major acts of terrorism that I somehow slept through?

      • Re:More info (Score:5, Informative)

        by cold fjord (826450) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @02:57PM (#45135079)

        Since 2000, we have seen serious major acts of terrorism in this country typically once or twice a year.â

        Really? I don't recall one or two major acts of terrorism a year since 2000. In fact I only recall one (7/7), and maybe you could count the bungled attempt to bomb an airport but those guys were laughably dumb. So what are the other 20 odd major acts of terrorism that I somehow slept through?

        ( Note to moderators: The question was asked, I'm answering it. )

        Here is a starter for you. I'm quite sure there are more out there since this was just a hasty search. When I started this post I was assuming that plots would count as "acts," but it looks like the number goes well over anyway between the various Islamists and the Real IRA. (As this was done in haste I may have posted something redundant, but it really doesn't alter the outcome much. A more careful search would no doubt turn up more.)

        Bomb plot: Life sentence for Irfan Naseer, ringleader of Birmingham men planning wave of UK suicide attacks [independent.co.uk]

        London terror bomb plot: the four terrorists [telegraph.co.uk]

        Four men pleaded guilty to plotting a Christmas bomb attack on the London Stock Exchange and causing a 'Mumbai-style' atrocity.

        Fertiliser bomb plot: The story [bbc.co.uk]

        Five men have been convicted of plotting to build a bomb which police say could have killed hundreds of British people. The men were caught after police and MI5 launched a massive surveillance operation.

        British terrorists conspired in bombs plot - security officials [theguardian.com]

        Counter-terrorism officials said last night they believe British terrorists who are still at large were involved in the conspiracy to launch car bomb attacks on London and Glasgow.
        Details emerged as it became clear that five of the suspects under arrest are doctors working and training in the NHS, and one is a doctor working in Australia where he was arrested last night.

        Airline terror trial: The bomb plot to kill 10,000 people [telegraph.co.uk]

        On honeymoon in the sunshine, Britons who forged a terror plot to plant peroxide and bleach bombs in Jewish areas [dailymail.co.uk]

        Shasta Khan and her husband also had beheading videos, bomb-making guides and bleach at their home
        Police found the terror-related material after being called to a domestic dispute at their house
        A satnav showed they had been on multiple trips to Jewish populated areas looking for targets

        British soldier hacked to death in suspected Islamist attack [reuters.com]

        A British soldier was hacked to death by two men shouting Islamic slogans in a south London street on Wednesday, in what the government said appeared to be a terrorist attack.

        A dramatic clip filmed by an onlooker just minutes after the killing showed a man with hands covered in blood, brandishing a bloodied meat cleaver and a knife. "We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you. The only reason we have done this is because Muslims are dying every day," the black man in his 20s or 30s, wearing a wool jacket and jeans

    • First, the term "terrorist" and "terrorism" have become labels for anything a Government does not like. If you believe in the 2nd amendment, display Libertarian bumper stickers or T-Shirts, are not registered Democrat or Republican, stock more than a week worth of food, or display anti-government literature (Think 15 year old's posting on Facebook as much as the rare member of a Jihad), you are a potential terrorist..

      These are US definitions, but the UK is not very different. Look at the recent detention

  • Between Cameron's insistence upon an approach that sounds an awful lot like a police state and the fact that this attack was "not imminent," you'll have to pardon me for speculating that this is a new episode of the hit sitcom "Security Theatre." After the pilot episode "TSA at the Airport," they've moved through a few seasons of bland, uninspired episodes, followed by their made-for-TV movie "PRISM" and now what appears to have been an action-packed feature film, "These Guys Might Have Roots in the Middle

  • Firearms unit (Score:5, Interesting)

    by phorm (591458) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @11:42AM (#45132825) Journal

    One thing I'm actually rather impressed with. Rather than running around with guns all the time, apparently the BP have a special unit to deal with cases where they're warranted. Certainly it's a different culture than N. America in that regard.

    • Re:Firearms unit (Score:5, Informative)

      by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @11:51AM (#45132929)

      That's because in the US, most potentially violent criminals carry guns. Thus police have to assume every potentially violent criminal is carrying a gun until searched proven otherwise, or else place their own lives in danger - if an offender is reaching into his pocket, there's no time to calmly try to talk him down. In the UK, guns are quite rare even to hardened criminals due to the difficulty obtaining them. For our street thugs, knives are the weapon of choice. So our police can be a bit less cautious.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by dave420 (699308)
        Exactly. The criminals don't need to carry guns because the police don't have them.
      • by Kjella (173770)

        Not to mention the perpetrator-victim relationship, in the UK and most of Europe a knife is enough. Depending on where you are in the US if you tried to rob anyone with a knife chances are you'd get the wallet while you're up close then get held or shot at gunpoint as you're trying to get away. If you have to assume your victim might have a gun (legally or illegally) the only "safe" way to rob them is to control them at gunpoint from start to finish. As I understand it guns are not that terribly hard to acq

      • by Fjandr (66656)

        It's also due to the militarization of US police. They view any non-police as the "enemy." They believe themselves to be different and special (note the use of the term "operator" by SWAT units, as if they have any resemblance to a military operator).

        SWAT units justify their existence mostly through raiding locations where there is no expectation of a violent response. They also routinely discharge their weapons when there is absolutely no cause, because they're amped up on their own exaggerated expectation

    • by evilandi (2800) <andrew@aoakley.com> on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @12:35PM (#45133413) Homepage

      Quite.

      It's a big mistake to think that the British police are unarmed. They're not.

      They just don't bother with piddling little pistols.

      If you're going to have a gun, have a BIG GUN.

      Other than for plain-clothed detectives working undercover, pistols are pretty much laughed at by the British police. Compare the stopping power of a weeny little Colt or a Glock to that of an MP5 sub-machine gun, G36 assault rifle or (God help you if you see one of these - strongly suggest you change your plans for that day) an SA-80 or AR-15 assault rifle.

      Although British police don't routinely carry sidearms, in high crime urban areas they will carry SMGs or assault rifles in a locked gun cabinet in the boot (trunk) of their car. In extremely difficult or vulnerable areas such as airports or tourist hotspots, they will carry MP5s around, mixing in with the crowd. The bobbies carrying MP5s are very nice blokes, feel free to strike up a conversation with them. Just back off the ones carrying SA-80s and AR-15s, there's a good chap.

      Our largest island is only 700 miles long. Where on earth are you going to run to, that a radioed-ahead armed response unit can't get to first?

      I can fully understand why lots of larger countries have routinely armed police - calling for backup could take hours. But it's extremely difficult to outrun the police radio on an island only 700 miles long with a heavily-armed SMG & assault rifle unit every 25 miles or so, and CCTV at every trunk road junction (interstate intersection).

      (The police at Birmingham Airport used to have those truly lovely-looking P90 bullpup rifles for manoeuvrability in corridors & aeroplanes; from my recent visit it looks like they've swapped over to MP5s - a shame as the bullpups just looked like a wonderfully practical bit of design. I once saw West Midlands Police using one of those wacky Steyr Augs - again, lovely design - but seem to have standardised now on SA-80s and AR-15s. There seems to be a lot more standardisation across the various regional firearms units these days. Probably very practical from a co-ordinated response point of view, but a lot less showy from a nerd point of view.)

      • by NoImNotNineVolt (832851) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @01:14PM (#45133857) Homepage

        AR-15 assault rifle.

        AR-15 is semi-automatic, so by definition it is not an assault rifle.

        M-16, the military variant, has the select fire feature. M-16 is an assault rifle.

        We now return you to your regularly scheduled gun bickering.

        • by u38cg (607297)
          Never mind trying to suggest that a 5.56 round from an SA-80 hits harder than a 9mm pistol.
          • It's more that an MP5 is standard issue for ordinary day-to-day duties by regular friendly bobbies on the beat, whereas an SA-80 or AR-15 indicates a specialist firearms officer who is only called in for extremely serious "incidents".

            MP5 = friendly

            SA-80 || AR-15 = Bugger off before you get caught in the crossfire

      • Just back off the ones carrying SA-80s and AR-15s, there's a good chap.

        Anyone, police or otherwise, who is responsible for maintenance of an SA-80 is likely to be in a bad mood...

      • by Type44Q (1233630)

        a shame as the bullpups just looked like a wonderfully practical bit of design

        Poor sight radius [wikia.com].

  • Bullshit (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @11:44AM (#45132845)

    This story keeps on growing. In the British press this morning it was claimed that the men fought in Syria and that they have access to weapons in the UK. That was it.

    Now the international press reports that the men were planning an atrocity.

    However, the police have found no guns or, in fact, any evidence of any crime. They would certainly be crowing about it if they had.

    This is such a non-story the BBC aren't bothering to report it.

  • Comparison (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fiannaFailMan (702447) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @12:53PM (#45133607) Journal

    USAian approach to fighting terrorism: Let's have a trillion dollar war on some random country. That'll show em. Nobody will mess with us afterwards. Oh, and let's spend a fortune in tax dollars on an elaborate security theatre in all airports so that we turn air travel into an ordeal. Let's also hire goons to intimidate anyone who wants to enter the country as a tourist, especially if their skin is dark or if there's any stamps in their passports that show they've been to muslim countries. And let's spend more than then next half dozen countries combined on super-duper high tech weapons even if our own armed forces are telling us they don't want them.

    British approach to fighting terrorism: Keep plugging away behind the scenes. Use the intelligence agencies to infiltrate terror groups and arrest them before they can strike. Keep it discreet, keep it quiet, and don't announce anything publicly until there's been an arrest. Meanwhile, let life go on as normal, keep going to work, keep on flying, keep shopping in busy streets, keep commuting on crowded trains and buses, and on no account do we change our way of life in search of an impossible-to-obtain standard of security because to do so would be to let the terrorists win.

    I wonder which one is more effective.

    • " Keep plugging away behind the scenes. Use the intelligence agencies to infiltrate terror groups and arrest them before they can strike. Keep it discreet, keep it quiet, and don't announce anything publicly until there's been an arrest."

      Oh, and you were doing so well right up to this point. Despite all the saber rattling the US does, the underpinning of the entire country's response is, infact, intelligence. Up until Snowden, we did keep it all quiet and discreet. Thing is, nobody actually seems to be in f

  • " pre-planned, intelligence-led raids..."

    We citizens would be glad if _all_ raids were pre-planned, intelligence-led raids.

    Unplanned, dumb raids at the wrong address are just not funny.

  • by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Tuesday October 15, 2013 @05:31PM (#45136887)
    Dubious; there are 3 possibilities, 1 it was almost entirely sponsored and encouraged by the security service and the losers who were arrested were just that losers. 2 that they are real attackers who might have pulled something nasty off. or 3 that this is a huge disproportionate response to what, in reality, were just some angry guys drunk talking.

    A simple example would be that I know 2 guys who have long been planning the perfect kidnapping. Not that they ever would kidnap anyone it is just a thought experiment in that doing the exchange would be fantastically difficult. But if you were to have a wiretap of any of their conversations you would think that they were two sociopathic nasties just days away from the snatching someone. Seeing that they have been having the same discussion for over 20 years it might be the slowest conspiracy in history. Seeing that the context of the conversation was set 20 years ago then any conversation since does not need to begin with "hypothetically" if anything their conversations would be something more along the lines of the exacting details of the use of helicopters, spaceships, submarines or whatever has recently popped into either of their heads. The worst is that if someone from a security service were to join into their debate(with the goal of an arrest) they would probably even accept the use of say a helicopter or whatever to stage some scenario that they were debating. But again neither of these two would ever even think about actually doing a crime so horrible. But a series of recordings played to the jury would be pretty damning.

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