NPR logo British Police Charge 11 in Aug. 10 Terrorism Case


British Police Charge 11 in Aug. 10 Terrorism Case

London officials have charged 11 people in relation to a terrorist plot that officials say was meant to blow up airliners flying from Britain to the United States.

Police say that in addition to the evidence that led to the initial arrests on Aug. 10, they have found bomb-making equipment and so-called "martyrdom videos."

The charges range from failing to aid an investigation of suspected terrorism to conspiracy to murder and attempting to smuggle explosives aboard an aircraft.

A police spokesman says that in conducting nearly 70 searches, officers have seized 400 computers, 200 mobile phones and many more storage devices, from CDs to flash drives.

The charges filed Monday include provisions made in Britain's Terrorism Act of 2006, which it adopted after last year's transit attack in London.

Remarks by Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke of Scotland Yard's Anti-Terrorist Branch:

"This is the first time we have been able to release information about the progress of the investigation, since the morning of the arrests on 10th August.

"This is not because we have wanted to withhold information from the public on the contrary, we want to tell the public as much as we can about the terrorist threat. But we have now reached the stage where I can give you more details. I cannot give you a running commentary on the enquiry. Neither can I give details of the specific evidence against individuals. What I can give is an indication of the type of evidence that will be presented in support of the prosecution.

"First, there is evidence from surveillance carried out before 10 August. This includes important, indeed, highly significant video and audio recordings.

"I can also tell you that since 10 August we have found bomb making equipment. There are chemicals, including hydrogen peroxide, electrical components, documents and other items.

"We have also found a number of video recordings - these are sometimes referred to as martyrdom videos. This has all given us a clearer picture of the alleged plot.

"However, the investigation is far from complete. The scale is immense. Enquiries will span the globe.

"The enormity of the alleged plot will be matched only by our determination to follow every lead and line of enquiry. I shall try to give you an idea of the size and complexity of this investigation.

"There have been 69 searches. These have been in houses, flats and business premises, vehicles and open spaces.

"As well as the bomb making equipment, we have found more than 400 computers, 200 mobile telephones and 8,000 items of removable storage media such as memory sticks, CDs and DVDs. So far, from the computers alone, we have removed some 6,000 gigabytes of data.

"The meticulous investigation of all this material will take many months. All the data will be analyzed.

"There will be thousands of forensic examinations and comparisons. Fingerprints, DNA, electronic data, handwriting comparisons, chemical analysis, and indeed the full range of forensic disciplines will be used.

"Aside from this particular case, we continue, working with the Security Service and others to investigate the threat from terrorism.

"I would like to reassure the public that we are doing everything we can to keep you safe, for you to live your lives without being in constant fear. However, we must be realistic. The threat from terrorism is real, it is here, it is deadly and it is enduring.

"As we all look for explanations, we cannot afford to be complacent and ignore the reality of what we face.

"These are difficult times for all communities, but I can assure you that the police service will not flinch from its duty to protect the public. More information will be given as and when it is appropriate to do so."