Sunday, August 27, 2006


Be a pen pal for our troops

By Robert Kellaway

THE NEWS of the World today calls on its army of readers to lift the spirits of our brave boys and girls in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Single lads among the troops are having a miserable time with temperatures of 50C, no beer in sight and no girls to chat to.

In Afghanistan, there has been an unprecedented period of heavy fighting and casualties suffered without complaint.

In Iraq it’s just as hot with our boys constantly at work carrying out risky infantry patrols.

So come on girls, if you are single and up for a laugh we want you to send a letter and include a glam picture of yourself.

But please keep it decent, as unsuitable letters or pictures will not be distributed to the lads.

What you write is up to you, but remember the guys need cheering up.

For a reply, please include an address or email for the soldier, sailor or airman to write back to.

We are NOT forgetting the 1,000 service WOMEN in both countries working just as hard as the men.

So come on all you News of the World hunks, it’s time to do your bit and send the girls some encouragement - and a photo of you looking your best.

Send your letter and picture to: PENPALS, News of the World, 1 Virginia Street, London, E98 1NW or email them to

If you are a man writing to a servicewomen mark your letter SERVICEWOMAN in the top left corner of the envelope or in the subject line of the email.

The letters will be distributed among single men and women of all three services in Iraq and Afghanistan.

There are a total of 12,000 troops serving in both countries so atten-shun - get writing.

A spokesman for the MoD said: “This is a brilliant idea and we know it will give the morale of our people a fantastic boost.

“We will be working extremely hard to get all the letters out to single serving men and women as fast as we can.”

A Royal Marines Major about to serve six months in Afghanistan with 3 Commando Brigade from October, added: “It’s a great idea.

“A similar thing happened with my platoon in Rwanda in 1994.

“One of the lads wrote home complaining there were no girls to talk to, no beer and it was too hot.

“We got sackloads of mail back and some of the girls were kind enough to include a photo.

“Mail is always a treat to look forward to but this made it really special.

“A couple of the boys struck up genuine friendships and found girlfriends as a result.

“It gives the boys such a boost to know the girls back home are thinking about them, it only takes a minute to drop them a line.”

Sunday, August 20, 2006


EXCLUSIVE: Maz on terror trail

By Mazher Mahmood

IT is 2pm. I am sitting on an unsteady wooden bench at a street cafe in Rawalpindi.

An unshaven waiter pours tea and fennel seeds from a large metal pot into a thick, cracked glass and slaps it on the table. An old Vespa races past firing a salvo of grit and dust over the table.

Opposite me is a well-built man in his 40s. Despite the 32° heat, he insists we sit at the roadside, with people bustling past, rather than attract attention by appearing secretive and seeking the haven of the cafe's interior.

"There will be more bombs. Jihadis (holy warriors) will take action against Britain and the West," he whispers. "It's Bush, Mush (Pakistan's President Musharraf) and Blair that are to blame. They are responsible for terrorism. It is their foreign policies that are causing such pain to Muslims."


I am in Pakistan to find out what led to the liquid explosives scare that all but paralysed Britain's airports. The words are those you'd expect to hear from the head of a terror cell.

Except the man I'm talking to is a Pakistani intelligence officer, tasked with tracking down terrorists.

His views are all too common in these parts.In a country where family and connections are everything, I only got to interview him because my late father's friend is a barrister whose son is an officer in the ISI (the Pakistan Intelligence Service).

No Westerner is going to get anywhere close to this access.

"We know that, since 2003, 24 men from Britain trained at an al-Qaeda camp on the Afghan border," he says.

"Sixteen of these are still missing. We have good information that they have all returned to the UK. But what is making it difficult to track these men is the fact that they all used fake names while they stayed in Pakistan."

The inference is obvious. That would mean 16 ‘sleepers'...terrorists, possibly suicide bombers, waiting to be activated in Britain.I have visited Pakistan, where I have many relatives, several times. The last was just four months ago. Even in the short time since then the atmosphere has changed. Once this place felt welcoming. Now, even as my photographer pictures me with innocent people in the street, there is anger in the air.

Educated people discuss anti-Muslim policies and worry about the country's coalition with Britain and America. Many of the middle classes believe that 9/11 and 7/7 were Jewish conspiracies and had nothing to do with Islamic extremists, while the poor daub graffiti and burn effigies of Bush and Blair.

Despite Musharraf's desperate attempts to put a lid on extremism, he is fighting a losing battle. It takes me just one phone call, for example, to secure a place at a leading madrassa or Islamic school.

The head of the Jamia Binoria school in Karachi, Mufti Naeem, is keen to help when I tell him my two sons want to attend. He promises to convert them into ‘proper' Muslims.

"We can provide accommodation as well," he says. "It's 3,000 rupees (about £26) per student per month. That includes food and everything."

Following the 7/7 atrocity, when it was revealed that two of the suicide bombers had undergone Islamic studies in Pakistan, President Musharraf banned all foreign students.

His order is effectively ignored. "We have lots of foreign students here, including several from Britain," Naeem smiles. And in this mix of conflicting loyalties are the many relatives of those arrested over the alleged terror plot — 23 in Britain and seven in Pakistan.

What do they think? To find out I travel to Mirpur, in north Pakistan, to meet Mian Naseer. He is the uncle of Rashid Rauf, the Birmingham man suspected of being the main figure behind the plot, and Rashid's brother Tayib, arrested in Birmingham.

"This is all just to divert attention from the atrocities being committed against Muslims in Israel," he seethed, his long white beard quivering in the sun. "These political tactics are beyond all us simple people."

Except Naseer, in his late 40s, is anything but simple. He lived in Birmingham until eight years ago and now runs a thriving business exporting sweetmeats known here as reveries to Britain. Rauf's family in Birmingham distribute a range of Asian sweetmeats and other food to shops across the Midlands.

Naseer's home is lavish, with a large drive and green lawn in a mountainous area which provides two-thirds of Britain's Pakistani population.

The area, once poor and populated with shacks, is now dotted with fashion able shops, hotels, car showrooms and pillared mansions that wouldn't be out of place in Beverly Hills.

The area has been transformed by vast sums of money being sent home by Mirpuris living in Britain.

Although these are religious people, life in Britain has made many very materialistic. But set against this is an atmosphere of bitterness among those who haven't been fortunate enough to have family in Britain who might transform their lives.

They feel that their old traditional way of life has been invaded by Western culture—and this contributes to a feeling of hatred towards Western values.

But Naseer is adamant that his family are innocent. "We are religious but we are not extremists," he tells me. "Our family have done a lot of charity work."

Indeed they have.

Rashid and Tayib's father, Abdul, is one of the founding trustees of the Crescent Relief charity that collected funds after last year's cataclysmic earthquake in Kashmir—though he left in 2001. Yesterday it was revealed that the Charities Commission is investigating reports of links between Crescent Relief and other British-based charities and the alleged bomb plot.

And last night Pakistani intelligence sources confirmed that they have arrested Abdul. He was picked up as he headed to Islamabad airport from his family home in Mirpur.

As sun sets it is now another stiflingly hot evening. I hear the call to prayer. For many it remains the sound of peace.

But for others, shuffling their way to imams of hate, it's a clarion call to Jihad.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


Editorial by Lord Stevens

WHEN will the Muslims of Britain stand up to be counted?

When will they declare, loud and clear, with no qualifications or quibbles about Britain's foreign policy, that Islamic terrorism is WRONG?

Most of all, when will the Muslim community in this country accept an absolute, undeniable, total truth: that Islamic terrorism is THEIR problem? THEY own it. And it is THEIR duty to face it and eradicate it.

To stop the denial, endless fudging and constant wailing that somehow it is everyone else's problem and, if Islamic terrorism exists at all, they are somehow the main victims.

Because until that happens the problem will never be resolved. And there will be more 7/7s and, sometime in the future, another airplane plot will succeed with horrific loss of innocent life.

Equally important, those British politicians who have seemed obsessed with pandering to, and even encouraging, this state of denial, must throw off their politically-correct blinkers and recognise the same truth—that Muslim terrorism in Britain is the direct responsibility of British Muslims.

If only they would follow the lead of Home Secretary John Reid, whose tough, pragmatic, clear-sighted approach has been a breath of fresh air. Only then can they properly work out how to tackle it.

For instance, every airport in Britain is in chaos over the plane bomb-plot alert as every passenger is subjected to rigorous security checks. Why? They take lots of time, lots of staff, and are extremely expensive.

I'm a white 62-year-old 6ft 4ins suit-wearing ex-cop—I fly often, but do I really fit the profile of suicide bomber? Does the young mum with three tots? The gay couple, the rugby team, the middle-aged businessman?

No. But they are all getting exactly the same amount and devouring huge resources for no logical reason whatsoever. Yet the truth is Islamic terrorism in the West has been universally carried out by young Muslim men, usually of ethnic appearance, almost always travelling alone or in very small groups. A tiny percentage, I bet, of those delayed today have such characteristics.

This targeting of airport resources is called passenger profiling—the Israelis invented it and they've got probably the safest airports and airlines in the world.

In all my years at the front line of fighting terrorism, one truth was always clear — communities beat terrorists, not governments or security forces. But communities can't beat terrorism unless they have the will to do so. My heart sank this week as I saw and read the knee-jerk reaction of friends and neighbours of those arrested in this latest incident, insisting it was all a mistake and the anti-terrorist squad had the wrong people.

I have no idea whether those arrested are guilty or not. But neither have those friends and neighbours. They spoke as if it was inconceivable such a thing could happen in their community; that those arrested were all good Muslims; that Islam is a religion of peace so no Muslim could dream of planning such an act.

But we heard the same from the family and friends of the 7/7 bombers, didn't we?

And the two young British Muslims who died as suicide bombers in Israel. Then there are the British Muslims known to have become suicide bombers in Iraq.

There is currently a huge, long-running and complex alleged Islamist bomb plot being tried at the Old Bailey. And a fistful of other cases of alleged Muslim terrorism plots such as the 21/7 London Underground case are also awaiting trial.

All this would suggest the blindingly obvious—that terrorism is a major problem for the Muslim community of Britain. Of course, there will be instant squealings that this is racism. It's not. It's exactly the same as recognising that, during the Northern Ireland troubles that left thousands dead, the IRA were totally based in the Catholic community and the UVF in the Protestant.

And that, most importantly, IRA terrorism only began to draw to a close when that Catholic community it was based in decided as a whole that it was no longer prepared to back violence as the only way forward. Interestingly, it was Catholic revulsion over republican terrorist atrocities such as Enniskillen and Omagh that fuelled that change.

Well, Muslim terrorism in Britain is based in, has its roots in, and grows in, our Muslim community. The madmen of 7/7 and other suicide bombings didn't hide among the Hindu communities, worship in the Sikh temples, recruit at Catholic churches, did they? It may be true that events in Iraq have angered sections of the Muslim community. I have no doubts, whatever Tony Blair says, that it was a catalyst. I also think it's entirely fair for Muslims, if they wish, to vocally oppose Britain's continuing involvement there.

I can recognise, too, that recent events in Lebanon inflame some people, and they want their voices of protest heard. The absolutely unacceptable problem is that this opposition is used by too many to turn a blind eye to, or excuse, terrorists in their midst.

Blasting a passenger airliner out of the sky, killing hundreds of innocent men, women and children, is NEVER acceptable. Under any circumstances. There is NEVER an excuse.

A terrible tragedy costing Muslim lives in Lebanon or Iraq or Afghanistan is never ever an excuse for terrorism here.

It is totally unacceptable, totally wrong. What one party perceives as a wrong, no matter how strongly they feel, does not, in turn, justify another wrong being done to avenge it.

And until every single member of the Muslim community believes that and preaches that—from an ordinary parent to imam or madrassa teacher—terrorism can't be beaten.

Politicians must accept this truth, and do something about it. One example would be to tackle this chaos at our airports and the passenger profiling I described earlier. Another must is to reconsider ID cards. The importance of knowing whether someone really is who they say they are has never been higher.

This must be combined with improved border controls, logging exactly who goes OUT of the country as well as who comes in should also be reconsidered, whatever the politically correct among us may say. The time terrorism suspects are kept in custody before charge has also caused dissent. Currently the maximum is 28 days—it may well be this should be reconsidered and, if necessary, raised again to, say, 42 days.

Plainly, Muslim terrorism isn't going away. We need to consider everything in our battle to defeat it. But that's the responsibility of all.

Not least the community where, sadly for them, it is festering.

[Site Editor's Note - I think it's worth mentioning that many of the comments below originate from regulars of Little Green Footballs.]

Sunday, August 06, 2006


EXCLUSIVE Holly & Jessica: Last secrets

By Neil McLeod & David Brown

THE shocking hidden truth about the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman is revealed by the News of the World in a sensational taped dossier.

For the first time since the horror that shocked the nation four years ago, twisted Ian Huntley has confessed that he THROTTLED screaming Jessica as she tried to phone her mum.

The details, though distressing, will give some comfort to their parents who have always been desperate to know the truth about the girls' last moments.

The killer's dramatic admissions after his stubborn refusal to co-operate with police are also likely to lead to a new investigation into the role played by lover Maxine Carr.

She served just 21 months for perverting the course of justice after claiming she had only a minor part in the murder cover-up. But Huntley claims she orchestrated it.

The 32-year-old killer poured out his guilt to mother Lynda Nixon, 51, the only person he now trusts, in three separate meetings at Wakefield jail, Yorks. Huntley told how he:

# STRANGLED Jessica to stop her screaming after Holly had died in the bathroom.
# SNATCHED her mobile phone to stop her calling her for help then realised: "I knew I could not let her leave the house."
# WATCHED in dread as police hunting the missing girls walked past her mobile on his draining board.
# TOLD Maxine of the killings on the night they died.
# OBEYED her when she plotted the cover-up and told him: "Burn the bodies or I will have to do it".
# FEARED he would be caught when police dogs sniffed his car as the 10-year-olds' bodies lay in bin bags in the boot overnight.
# DUMPED evidence in a rubbish bin at a nearby Tesco.
# PLANNED suicide on the fourth anniversary last week but was stopped.
# RAPED a girl in a nightclub in his home town.

But at the same time evil Huntley repeats his delusional claim—despite all the evidence—that Holly died by accident when she fell in the bath after a nosebleed.

A Cambridgeshire police spokesman said last night: "We are always interested in reviewing new information and will take it seriously to get to the truth of what happened that day. We have never believed the version of events Ian Huntley gave in court."

His younger brother Wayne, 30, who taped a series of conversations with their mother after her visits said: "This is the fullest account of what happened at Soham that Ian has ever given.

"He is in jail where he belongs but I am convinced he wants to kill himself and give some explanation of what happened before he does.

"I believe I had to make this public because everybody from the girls' families to the average person in the street deserves to know."

Mother Lynda gently coaxed the details from Huntley in a series of jail meetings lasting SIX HOURS.

He has always claimed he smothered Jessica accidentally as he tried to stop her crying after Holly died. But he told his mother:

"If she hadn't kept shouting, she'd have got out of the house alive.

"I was telling her to stop shouting so I could think. She kept saying: ‘You pushed her. You pushed her.'

"It was only when I put my hand on her shoulder as she went for the door, that I realised I couldn't let her leave the house."

Deluded Huntley insisted Holly suffered a nosebleed in his caretaker's house at Soham College four years and two days ago. He lied that she went to his bathroom, slipped and died—which was when Jessica began screaming.

He told Lynda: "I did not push her, Mum, I did not touch her. Jessica stood at the doorway screaming. Holly was in the bath. Mum, I had to get to her otherwise all the neighbours would have been round if I hadn't shut her up."

He chased her downstairs and took her mobile as she tried to make a call, thought to be to her mother. Huntley added: "As soon as I put my hand on her shoulder, then, you know...there are two bodies in the house."

Wayne explained: "He said he sat her on the settee and tried to calm her down. But she kept screaming."

Wayne asked his mum: "Did he say he strangled her? Linda replied: "Yes, he did as she got near the door. It was that stage when he knew she couldn't let her leave."

It is the first time Huntley has admitted killing Jessica in such a savage manner and proves the cold-blooded nature the murders.

Lynda also said Huntley told her the time of Jessica's death was 6.55pm. Experts previously thought it had been around 6.46pm when her phone was switched off. Lynda said: "Ian told me the time because I wanted to light candles for the girls."

Huntley refused to implicate Maxine throughout the investigation and 31-day Old Bailey trial, which ended with his conviction in December 2003.

But he is now firmly pointing the finger at his former girlfriend, who served half a 42-month sentence for perverting the course of justice by giving him a false alibi.

She lives in secret after the High Court issued an order guaranteeing her anonymity forever. It costs the taxpayer over £1million a year to protect her.

Huntley confessed to Lynda he told Maxine about the girls' deaths on the Sunday, the VERY NIGHT of the murders, possibly minutes after they died.

He sat on the landing of his house and rang Carr to confess what he'd done. Wayne asked Lynda: "Did Ian actually tell you Maxine knew on the night that the girls were dead? She replied: "Yes, yes. Ian said she knew everything that night."

Lynda also revealed that Huntley had wanted to give himself up TWICE but Maxine stopped him. His mother added: "She kept saying to Ian, ‘You have got to get rid of all the evidence'. Maxine told him to put the washing in, to talk to the media."

Huntley added that Maxine even washed the sheets on their bed after he told her one of the girls had sat on the edge of it. It was part of her plan to get rid of any trace of their DNA.


And he told his mother how Maxine later reacted with fury at what he'd done—but out of concern for herself, not his little victims. "I'm not losing my home or job for anybody," she snapped.

Huntley revealed for the first time how he put the girls' bodies in black bin liners, backed his car up to his house and put them in the boot. He kept them there overnight before driving to dump them at a beauty spot near Lakenheath air base in Suffolk the next morning.

In court, prosecution lawyers said experts believed the bodies had been placed there on the night of the murder. Huntley told his mother he was almost caught that night when two police dogs moved past the boot of the red Ford Fiesta but did not pick up the girls' scent.

Huntley also confessed exactly where he had dumped Jessica's mobile phone and thrown a can in which he carried petrol to burn their bodies.

Wayne said: "Ian told mum how he was washing his fingerprints off Jessica's mobile in his kitchen.

"Two officers came around two days after the girls disappeared and said they needed to have a look through the premises.

"He didn't make any attempt to hide the phone. He said he just left it, still wet, on the draining board.

"He told her, ‘I thought that was it, Mum. I thought I was going to be caught there and then.'"

"But the officers didn't notice it and walked out. He couldn't believe they had missed it."

Huntley put the phone in two bags then drove to Tesco in Ely, Cambs, and dumped it in a bin. It has never been found.

He told his mother that when he brought Maxine back from her mum's after the murders she began scrubbing the house clean of any evidence and told him to act as normally as possible. Huntley said: "She cleaned the place that hard the paint was coming off the kitchen wall."

Lynda recalled: "Ian said one day she was in such a state she hit him. She was saying that they should act normal."

Maxine also told Huntley to destroy the evidence, warning: "Your DNA will be on the girls." Wayne said: "Ian interpreted that to mean that he should burn the bodies. The thought going through his head at the time was, ‘Oh my God. I didn't want to do that.' He said he hadn't intended on going back to where he had placed the bodies."

He asked Maxine to go with him but she replied: "You do it, I'm going to bed." She ordered him to call in at his grandmother's house and make sure he was seen so he had an alibi.

"While there he rang Maxine and told her he couldn't bring himself to go through with it. But, according to Huntley, she coldly told him: "If you don't do it, then I will have to."

Huntley DID carry out Carr's instructions. He told his mother he threw one of two petrol cans he used in an overgrown pheasant coop. It was never found.

Wayne said: "I know what Ian did was dreadful and unforgiveable. But people should know Maxine she was far more involved than she has been punished for."

Huntley, who was investigated several times for sex offences before the murder, also confessed to raping a girl he met in a Grimsby club. He told Lynda: "Mum, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I didn't know her name or anything."

The News of the World can also reveal that he was plotting to make a SECOND attempt to kill himself, apparently to coincide with the fourth anniversary of the girls' deaths last Friday.

Last Saturday warders raided his room and found a stash of pills.

They acted after a tip-off from a fellow inmate who had been trading the tablets with Huntley.

He first tried to kill himself in June 2003 when he was on remand at Woodhill Prison, Bucks. He took 29 anti-depressants and ended up in a coma.

Wayne said: "He just cannot live with himself.

"And he is the type of person who will see it through one day."

Maxine's lawyer has said: "She denies what Huntley has said in the strongest possible terms."