No link between T&T plot planners – report

(Trinidad Express) The security evaluation of the intelligence report which detailed the alleged assassination plot against the Prime Minister and other members of the Cabinet found the information to be highly speculative and poured cold water over the conclusion arrived at that there was a credible security threat.

The security evaluation, received by the Sunday Express, documented on November 23, stated the “chronological sequence of events was inconsistent”.

It noted, for example, that if the stated purpose of the assassination was to show the Government that the State of Emergency called on August 21 was a dismal failure, then the conspirators would have had to have known since January 2011 (when they allegedly imported the arms and ammunition) that the Prime Minister planned to call a State of Emergency in August.

“The stated purpose of the assassination being to show the Government that the State of Emergency called on the 21st August was a dismal failure. If this be true, then it can be inferred that they had prior knowledge that the Prime Minister would have called a State of Emergency prior to 21st August, 2011, and it would have failed, so they imported arms and ammunition in January, 2011,” the document stated.

The document said the assertion that the firearms and ammunition for the plot were brought by one person (named) and that the guns may have been supplied by another alleged conspirator, through the assistance of another alleged conspirator, “shows the informant use of persons of ill-repute to validate his alleged plot without linking anyone in particular to each other”.

The evaluation document noted that no leaders were identified in the plot, and no linkage was established between the two groups who were supposed to be acting in concert.

“There is no information identifying the leaders of the two groups or whether the persons involved are known to each other. Attempts to identify a common link, possibly through imams or the community they belong to, were futile,” it stated.

The evaluation document said two of the persons named as belonging to the organisation referred to by the informant as the “Khawarij” were not known to be linked to this group, and there was no information to suggest that they were.

In fact, the document noted the use of the term “Khawarij” as an organisation was incorrect as it is mainly used by Muslims to insult or de-legitimise another group of Muslims or to describe Muslims who have turned away from the Qur’an.

It was also used to describe people who challenge the teaching of scholars or the leadership of their imam.

“It is therefore inappropriate for them to acknowledge this name. However, due to a lack of understanding by the source, there seems to be an attempt to use the term in a context which suggests that these persons are extremists,” the evaluation document stated.

The document, therefore, referred to the organisation as the “Salafi community”.

It said while Ashmeed Choate “has a reputation for speaking out against racism among the traditional Indo-Muslim community, who seem bent on keeping their Afro-Trinidadian brothers out of the faith, nothing has been unearthed linking him to the Salafist community”.

The document stated that Salim Luqman was known to attend the Islamic Resource Centre, located on Queen St, Port of Spain, and was not known to be a Salafist.

In giving an overall analysis of the information and source, the document stated: “The general assessment of this information is that it seems to be an amalgamation of several pieces of information, using historical information on individuals of known ill repute to validate the claim of a future act and embellished by the author’s liberal use of opinions rather than facts.”

Reference to the evaluation document was made by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley at a news conference on Friday, at which he claimed Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar had sight of this November 23 document before she threw the country into a state of panic on November 24 by disclosing that her life, as well as the lives of Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, Housing Minister Roodal Moonilal and Local Government Minister Chandresh Sharma were threatened.

“The Prime Minister knew that there was no confirmed plot and that it was speculation on the part of a source that had been discredited by the country’s security services and, therefore, this whole question of a plot against the life of the Prime Minister and her Cabinet as of the 24th of November had not been established…in the way it was sold to us,” he said.

However Ramlogan said the document Rowley referred to was never provided to the National Security Council, of which the PM is chairman. He said the report was either “fictitious or bogus” and labelled Rowley’s allegations as “outrageous, scandalous and mischievous”.


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