August 21, 2006 -- Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clark, head of London's Metropolitan Police Service's (MPS) Anti-Terrorist Branch, says for the first time the branch is now able to release information about the investigation into the arrests made on August 10, 2006 in the alleged terror plot to blow up commercial airliners over the Atlantic.
Eleven people have now been charged in the alleged plot. According to the MPS eight have been charged with two offenses relating to an "an alleged plot to manufacture and smuggle the component parts of improvised explosive devices onto aircraft and assemble and detonate them on board. The eight have been charged with conspiracy to murder and preparing acts of terrorism contrary to Section 5 of the country's 2006 Terrorism Act.
As for the remaining three, one has been charged with possession of articles useful to a person preparing an act of terrorism and two with failing to disclose information of material assistance in preventing an act of terrorism.
The Deputy Assistant Commissioner says while he can't detail specific evidence against individuals he is able to "give an indication of the type of evidence that will be presented in support of the prosecution."
Clark says there is video and audio recording evidence. "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."
According to Clark, since August 10 police have found bomb making equipment such as "chemicals, including hydrogen peroxide, electrical components, documents and other items."
The Anti-Terrorist Branch head says the "scale (of the plot) is immense. Inquiries will span the globe...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."
Clark says the analysis of the material will take many months. "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."
He wanted to reassure the public but note people had to 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."