UK’S Asylum Seekers Highlight Terrorist Problem

April 14 17:11 2005 Print This Article

The story of how a suspected al-Qaeda terrorist group leader was arrested in Manchester, England was kept tightly under wraps until yesterday.

Just half a year after the attack on the World Trade Centre in New York, several men, mainly Algerians, were found to be using fraudulent means to gain access to large amounts of money that was being sent abroad to be used to support terrorism. Further investigation suggested that the group were directly involved in terrorism themselves.

During an operation to secure the arrest of a terrorist suspect who cannot as yet be named, police were surprised to find Kamel Bourgass, 31, inside the apartment. The long search for the man they believed to be the leader of an international conspiracy to bring death and destruction to the UK was finally over – the nation’s most wanted man had been found. Had we known, we’d surely have breathed a sigh of relief. Or would we?

Police believe the group had planned attacks on the London Underground system and Paris Metro. There’s no proof that this was the case and it has to be remembered that Bourgass was convicted of conspiracy to commit a public nuisance and not conspiracy to murder.

Having stabbed and killed Detective Constable Stephen Oake during his arrest, there’s absolutely no doubt that Bourgass is a dangerous man but just how dangerous is still uncertain. There’s no evidence to prove whether he was part of a huge plot to systematically destroy our country or whether he was working alone.

The release of this news has come at an appropriate moment during the run up to the UK government election. Michael Howard, leader of the Conservative Party, is blaming Prime Minister Tony Blair for the mess his government has made of the asylum system. Bourgass, a former asylum seeker who was not granted permission to stay, should never have been in the country.

Blair, on the other hand, will undoubtedly use the news to further explain Britain’s involvement in the war on Iraq. However, as no ricin has been found in connection with Bourgass and certainly no link to Saddam Hussein or Iraq, that particular argument isn’t likely to wash with Joe Public.

While it’s not being suggested that Bourgass should walk free, what’s difficult to understand is why this news was kept quiet for more than two years. If the allegations are true, surely this information could have been used to support Tony Blair’s decision regarding Iraq at a time when the nation was against it?

The question that must now be asked is whether this was a simply a matter of frayed nerves following the tragic attack of September 11th, or if there really was a serious threat against Britain and other parts of Europe, where is the proof?

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