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BBC 'took terrorist trainers paintballing'
The Times ^ | 12/5/2007 | Adam Sherwin

Posted on 12/04/2007 7:15:46 PM PST by bruinbirdman

The BBC funded a paintballing trip for men later accused of Islamic terrorism and failed to pass on information about the 21/7 bombers to police, a court was told yesterday.

Mohammed Hamid, who is charged with overseeing a two-year radicalisation programme to prepare London-based Muslim youths for jihad, was described as a “cockney comic” by a BBC producer.

The BBC paid for Mr Hamid and fellow defendants Muhammad al-Figari and Mousa Brown to go on a paintballing trip at the Delta Force centre in Tonbridge, Kent, in February 2005. The men, accused of terrorism training, were filmed for a BBC programme called Don’t Panic, I’m Islamic, screened in June 2005.

The BBC paid Mr Hamid, an Islamic preacher who denies recruiting and grooming the men behind the failed July 2005 attack, a £300 fee to take part in the programme, Woolwich Crown Court was told.

It was alleged that Mr Hamid told a BBC reporter that he would use the corporation’s money to pay a fine imposed by magistrates for a public order offence.

Nasreen Suleaman, a researcher on the programme, told the court that Mr Hamid, 50, contacted her after the July 2005 attack and told her of his association with the bombers. But she said that she felt no obligation to contact the police with this information. Ms Suleaman said that she informed senior BBC managers but was not told to contact the police.

Ms Suleaman told the court that Mr Hamid was keen to appear in the programme. She said: “He was so up for it. We took the decision that paintballing would be a fun way of introducing him.

“There are many, many British Muslims that I know who for the past 15 or 20 years have been going paintballing. It’s a harmless enough activity. I don’t think there is any suggestion, or ever has been, that it’s a terrorist training activity.”

The court was told previously that Mr Hamid taunted police on his return from an alleged terror training camp in the New Forest where exercises included somersaults, pole-vaulting and paintballing.

Ms Suleaman said she was not aware that Ramzi Mohammed and Hussein Osman, two of the July bombers, had joined Mr Hamid at the Tonbridge paintball centre on July 3, 2005.

Ms Suleaman said that Mr Hamid was agitated after the July attack. She said: “I think he was worried that perhaps the men might call him because they were on the run at the time. I think he was very, very shocked about the fact that the men he knew were accused of this.”

Duncan Penny, for the prosecution, asked Ms Suleaman if she had told Mr Hamid to go to the police or contacted the police herself. Mr Penny asked: “Here was a man who told you that he knew those individuals who, as I understand it, were still at large for what on the face of it was the attempted bombings of the transport network a fortnight after it happened, and he was telling you he had some knowledge of them? There was a worldwide manhunt going on, wasn’t there?”

She replied: “I got the sense that he was already talking to the police. I referred it to my immediate boss at the BBC. I wasn’t told that there was an obligation. In fact it was referred above her as well. It was such a big story.” She added: “I don’t think it’s my obligation to tell another adult that he should go to the police.”

Mr Hamid had told her he had not spoken to Muktar Said Ibrahim, the ringleader of the 21/7 plot, since October 2004 and there was no suggestion that Mr Hamid knew anything about the attempted attack.

Phil Rees, who produced the show, told the court that he was impressed by Mr Hamid’s sense of humour while looking for someone to appear in the documentary. He said: “I think he had a comic touch and he represented a strand within British Muslims. I took it as more like a rather Steptoe and Son figure rather than seriously persuasive. I saw him as a kind of Cockney comic.” Mr Rees, who now works for the Arabic TV station al-Jazeera, gave Mr Hamid a signed copy of his book Dining With Terrorists.

Mr Hamid is charged with Mr al-Figari, 42, Mr Brown, 41, Kader Ahmed, 20, and Kibley Da Costa, 24. Atilla Ahmet, 43, has admitted soliciting murder.

Mr Hamid denies providing weapons training, five charges of soliciting murder and three of providing training for terrorism. The other men deny a series of charges related to training.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events

1 posted on 12/04/2007 7:15:48 PM PST by bruinbirdman
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To: bruinbirdman

How can you even begin to comment on something like this?

2 posted on 12/04/2007 7:19:17 PM PST by toddlintown (Five bullets and Lennon goes down. Yet not one hit Yoko. Discuss..)
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To: toddlintown
"How can you even begin to comment on something like this?"

An analogy to leftist journos in the US who wouldn't give away the enemy but would give away state secrets to the enemy?


3 posted on 12/04/2007 7:27:44 PM PST by bruinbirdman ("Those who control language control minds.")
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To: bruinbirdman

Bunch of British Communists

4 posted on 12/04/2007 7:28:31 PM PST by Rosemont
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Comment #5 Removed by Moderator

To: Rosemont

then no one is offended.
“Don’t fight back, that’s out of style and

6 posted on 12/04/2007 7:52:35 PM PST by NDNBill ("Gun Control means never having to say I missed you.")
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Their media no better than ours. AP, America’s largest press agency, hires terrorists who help kill American GIs. When one is captured, AP’s despicable president is given space in the terrorist-enabling Washington Post to whine about it. A vile, disgusting crowd.
7 posted on 12/04/2007 9:16:15 PM PST by Godwin1
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