Investigator in Basra dies,, investigation Elite SAS men disguised as Arab “terrorists”



British “Pseudo-Gang” Terrorists Exposed in Basra


by Kurt Nimmo

Global Research, September 24, 2005



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Baghdad Dweller, writing for Uruknet, reports two British soldiers held by “Iraqi authorities” in Basra (also described as “Shiite militiamen” in the corporate media), and subsequently freed after the British stormed a police jail, were working undercover as bombers. Baghdad Dweller includes a link to the Washington Post, where the following appears: “Iraqi security officials on Monday variously accused the two Britons they detained of shooting at Iraqi forces or trying to plant explosives. Photographs of the two men in custody showed them in civilian clothes.” The Herald notes the following: “Sources say the British soldiers, possibly members of the new Special Reconnaissance Regiment formed earlier this month to provide intelligence for SAS operations, were looking at infiltration of the city’s police by the followers of the outspoken Shi’ite cleric, Moqtada al Sadr,” thus admitting the soldiers worked undercover.

The “Special Reconnaissance Regiment,” according to, “formed with HQ at Hereford from volunteers of other units to support international expeditionary operations in the fight against international terrorism, absorbing 14th Intelligence Company (formed for operations against Ulster terrorists), Intelligence Corps, and releasing the SAS and SBS for the ‘hard end’ of missions.” Is it possible the “hard end” of the “mission” in Iraq is to discredit the resistance and sow chaos in the country by fronting pseudo-gang terrorist groups (or the variant “pseudo-guerilla operations”), as the British have ample experience with elsewhere, notably in Kenya during the Mau Mau uprising and in Malaya? “Pseudo operations are those in which government forces disguised as guerrillas, normally along with guerrilla defectors, operate as teams to infiltrate insurgent areas,” writes Lawrence E. Cline for the U.S. Army War College External Research Associates Program. “This technique has been used by the security forces of several other countries in their operations, and typically it has been very successful.” Indeed, one long running pseudo op, Gladio, was so successful it managed to render a nominal Italian terrorist group, the Red Brigades (Brigate Rosse), into an excuse (after proper infiltration by agents provocateurs) to increase the power of reactionary forces in Italy and discredit socialist, communist, and even labor movements.

The British SAS honed its “counter-insurgency” techniques in Northern Ireland and there is no reason to believe it has refrained from doing so in Iraq. “Formed to perform acts of sabotage and assassination behind enemy lines during World War 2, the SAS evolved into a counter-insurgency regiment after the war,” writes Sean Mac Mathuna. Mathuna cites a 1969 Army Training manual (British Army Land Operations Manual, volume 3, counter-revolutionary operations) that enumerates several “tasks,” including:

the ambush and harassment of insurgents, the infiltration of sabotage, assassination and demolition parties into insurgent-held areas, border surveillance … liaison with, and organization of friendly guerrilla forces operating against the common enemy.

Examples “were found during the Mau-Mau rebellion in Kenya during the mid-fifties,” Mathuna explains, “when SAS officers commanded some of the infamous ‘pseudo gangs’ that terrorized the civilian population,” and

in Borneo, where they used cross-border operations to attack and destroy guerrilla bases; and in Aden in 1967, where they dressed as Arabs and would use an Army officer to lure Arab gunmen into a trap and kill them. To defeat the insurgents counter-terror must be deployed back at them—described by Ken Livingstone as “subverting the subverters”….

In order to “subvert the subverters” and discredit the IRA in Northern Ireland, the SAS formed the Military Reconnaissance Force (MRF), a covert pseudo-gang. “During the 1972 [IRA] ceasefire the MRF shot civilians from unmarked cars using IRA weapons,” writes Mathuna. “In November 1972 the Army admitted that the MRF had done this one three occasions. One of these incidents happened on 22nd June 1972—the day the IRA announced its intention to introduce a ceasefire. The shootings appear to have been done to discredit the IRA…”

It is clear now, that because elements within the security forces did not want a political deal with the IRA in the mid-seventies, and the military solution was only possible with a change at the top of the Labour leadership, MI5 and the SAS were prepared to use the same methods the IRA are condemned for – civilian deaths, assassinations, bombings and black propaganda—to bring this about.

In fact, so effective were these “military solution” pseudo-gang terrorist techniques the French employed them in Algeria and Vietnam. “The most widespread use of pseudo type operations was during the ‘Battle of Algiers’ in 1957,” explains Lawrence E. Cline. “The principal French employer of covert agents in Algiers was the Fifth Bureau, the psychological warfare branch.” The Fifth Bureau “planted incriminating forged documents, spread false rumours of treachery and fomented distrust among the [FLN, the National Liberation Front] … As a frenzy of throat-cutting and disemboweling broke out among confused and suspicious FLN cadres, nationalist slaughtered nationalist from April to September 1957 and did France’s work for her,” notes Cline, quoting Martin S. Alexander and J. F. V. Kieger (“France and the Algerian War: Strategy, Operations, and Diplomacy,” Journal of Strategic Studies, Vol. 25, No. 2, June 2002, pp. 6-7).

Even though the Washington Post mentions two Brits were detained, apparently caught red-handed shooting Iraqi police and planting explosives, it does not bother to mention the SAS or its long and sordid history of engaging in covert pseudo-gang behavior and conclude the obvious: Britain, and the United States—the latter having admitted formulating the Proactive Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG) in 2002, a brain child of neocons staffing the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board, designed to “stimulate reactions” on the part of “terrorists” (in Iraq, that would be the resistance)—are intimately involved in sowing chaos and spreading violence in Iraq and more than likely soon enough in Iran and Syria.

Of course, this unfortunate and embarrassing incident in Basra will fall off the front page of corporate newspapers and websites soon enough, replaced with more appropriate, if fantastical, propaganda implicating the Iraqi resistance and intel ops such as al-Zarqawi for the violence, obviously engineered to create a civil war in Iraq and thus divide the country and accomplish the neocon-Likudite plan to destroy Islamic culture and society.


It is not surprising the corporate media in the United States and Britain would omit crucial details on this story. In order to get the whole story, we have to go elsewhere—for instance, China’s Xinhuanet news agency. “Two persons wearing Arab uniforms [see the M.O. cited above] opened fire at a police station in Basra. A police patrol followed the attackers and captured them to discover they were two British soldiers,” an Interior Ministry source told Xinhua. “The two soldiers were using a civilian car packed with explosives, the source said.”

So, the next time you read or hear about crazed “al-Qaeda in Iraq” terrorists blowing up children or desperate job applicants, keep in mind, according to the Iraqi Interior Ministry, the perpetrators may very well be British SAS goons who cut their teeth killing Irish citizens.

Kurt Nimmo is a frequent contributor to Global Research.  Global Research Articles by Kurt Nimmo


British Chief Police Investigator in Basra dies under mysterious circumstances
He was responsible for the investigation into the two Elite SAS men disguised as Arab “terrorists”
by Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, October 17, 2005
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Captain Ken Masters, British chief police investigator in Basra died under mysterious circumstances. The cause of death was not mentioned. According to a Ministry of Defense spokesman, his death was “not due to hostile action” nor to natural causes.Ken Masters was Commanding Officer of the Special Investigation Branch of the Royal Military Police. He was “responsible for the investigation of all in-theatre serious incidents, plus investigations conducted by the General Police Duties element of the Theatre Investigation Group.” (Statement of Britain’s Ministry of Defense, 16 Oct 2005).

In this capacity, Captain Masters was responsible for investigating the circumstances of the arrest of two undercover elite SAS men, wearing Arab clothing, by Iraqi police in Basra. on September 19 (London Times (17 Oct 2005)..

“The Ministry of Defence refused to reveal details about his [Masters] work but it is believed he was involved in the inquiry into the dramatic rescue of two SAS soldiers held in a prison in Basra.” (Daily Mail, 16 Oct 2005)

The two British undercover “soldiers”, who were driving a car loaded with weapons and ammunition, were subsequently “rescued” by British forces, in a major military assault on the building where they were being detained:

“British forces used up to 10 tanks ” supported by helicopters ” to smash through the walls of the jail and free the two British servicemen.”

The incident, which resulted in numerous civilian and police casualties has caused political embarrassment.

Several media reports and eyewitness accounts suggested that the SAS operatives were disguised as Al Qaeda “terrorists” and were planning to set off the bombs in Basra’s central square during a a major religious event.

On the 14th of October, Britain formally apologized to Iraq and confirmed that it “will pay compensation for injuries and damage caused during the storming by the army of a police station in Basra in the operation to release two SAS soldiers” (The Scotesman, 15 Oct 2005). In the British raid on the prison, 7 Iraqis were killed and 43 were injured .(The Times, op cit)

“Compensation to the families of alleged Iraqi victims who died during the fracas depended on the official investigation being carried out by Captain Masters and his team.” (ibid)

Captain Ken Masters died in Basra on the 15th. According to the MoD “the circumstances [of his death ] were not regarded as suspicious.”

The reports casually suggested that Masters might have been suffering from “stress”, which could have driven him to commit suicide. In the words of a Defense analyst quoted by the BBC:.

“Capt Masters was part of quite a small outfit and his job would have been quite stressful. It’s quite an onerous job….. I think, [there is] quite a lot of stress involved” (BBC, 16 October 2005).

The Daily Mail (17 Oct 2005), however, tends to dismiss the suicide thesis “Little is known of his private life and it is said to be unlikely that the pressures of work would have led him to commit suicide.”

British statements concerning the “rescue operation”

The attack on the 19th of September to “rescue” the two SAS men was launched under the command of Brig John Lorimer. In a statement, Lorimer said that the purpose of the raid was to ensure the safety of the two SAS men: .

“… I had good reason to believe that the lives of the two soldiers were at risk and troops were sent to the area of Basra near the police station to help ensure their safety. … “Later in the day, however, I became more concerned about the safety of the two soldiers after we received information that they had been handed over to militia elements. As a result I took the difficult decision to order entry to the Jamiat police station. By taking this action we were able to confirm that the soldiers were no longer being held by the IPS. An operation was then mounted to rescue them from a house in Basra.”

(The Times, 20 Oct 2005,,7374-1788850,00.html )

Ironically, Brig Lorimer’s account was challenged by the US appointed interim government. Iraqi interior minister Baqir Solagh Jabr, in an interview with the BBC “denied that the Iraqi police had handed over the SAS men to the local militias, as Brigadier Lorimer had stated….’That is not right, totally not right,’ he said. He accused Brigadier Lorimer of reacting to ‘rumour’ when he ordered his men to storm the police station and said that the building where the SAS men had been found was actually part of the police station” ( The Independent, 12 Oct 2005).

In a subsequent declaration, Lorimer said that the police in Basra were involved in terrorism, and were being supported by Iran (This alleged link to Iran is now denied by British Defense officials).

Lorimer also said that that the two arrested undercover SAS men had been investigating torture and abuse within the prison: The SAS men had been “given the task of trying to establish who was behind the reign of terror at the jail” (quoted in the Daily Telegraph, 16 Oct 2005). According to Lorimer the prison was a “very nasty place”. (Ibid)

The Investigation

The citizens of Basra witnessed the arrest. Civilians were killed and inhured when British forces under the command of Brig Lorimer led the military assault on the prison. Al Jazeera reported the circumstances of the arrest in an interview with Fattah al-Shaykh, member of the Iraqi National Assembly:

If you really want to look for truth, then we should resort to the Iraqi justice away from the British provocations against the sons of Basra, particularly what happened today when the sons of Basra caught two non-Iraqis, who seem to be Britons and were in a car of the Cressida type. It was a booby-trapped car laden with ammunition and was meant to explode in the centre of the city of Basra in the popular market. However, the sons of the city of Basra arrested them. They [the two non-Iraqis] then fired at the people there and killed some of them. The two arrested persons are now at the Intelligence Department in Basra, and they were held by the National Guard force, but the British occupation forces are still surrounding this department in an attempt to absolve them of the crime. (Al Jazeera TV 20 Sept 2005).

Nobody in Basra believes that the two arrested SAS men were “working undercover against militants linked to Iran”:

“The Iraqi police stopped a car with two foreigners dressed as Arabs, and full of weapons and explosives,” he said. “There have been terrorist attacks and explosions in Basra – of course the police wanted to investigate.”…. Mr Hakim dismissed as “propaganda” reports that the soldiers were working undercover against militants linked to Iran. Officials in Basra have called for an espionage trial for the two in an Iraqi court. British soldiers’ legal immunity “does not apply when they are out of uniform”, Mr Hakim said. (Mr. Hakim is a leading official in Iraq’s largest Shia Muslim party, quoted in the Financial Times, 29 Sept 2005)

Was the British military blocking Captain Masters police investigation?

There were apparent disagreements between British military commanding officers and the military police officials dispatched to the war theater in charge of investigating the actions and behavior of military personnel. (The Independent 17 Oct 2005).

Was pressure put to bear on Captain Masters by the Ministry of Defense? According to Michael Keefer, the British Army led by Brig Lorimer was determined

“to remove these men from any danger of interrogation by their own supposed allies in the government the British are propping up—even when their rescue entailed the destruction of an Iraqi prison and the release of a large number of prisoners, gun-battles with Iraqi police and with Al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army militia, a large popular mobilization against the British occupying force, and a subsequent withdrawal of any cooperation on the part of the regional government—tends, if anything, to support the view that this episode involved something much darker and more serious than a mere flare-up of bad tempers at a check-point.”

(See Michael Keefer, )

Captain Ken Masters had a mandate to cooperate in his investigations, with the civilian Iraqi authorities. As part of his mandate he was to investigate “into allegations that British soldiers killed or mistreated Iraqi civilians”. Specifically in this case, the inquiry pertained to the circumstances of the British assault on the prison on 19 September. The press reports and official statements suggest that the assault on the prison was authorized by the Ministry of Defense.

General Sir Michael Jackson, Chief of the General Staff was in Basra a few days prior to Captain Masters untimely death to deal explicitly with the matter.

While in Basra, he no doubt also had meetings with both Brig Lorimer and Captain Masters. General Jackson has upheld the rescue of the elite SAS men:

“Let me make it clear that it was important to retrieve those two soldiers.” (quoted in the Times, 12 Oct 2005)

Related Global Research Articles

Britain “apologizes” for terrorist act in Basra

Rescue of SAS men who were planning to place bombs in Basra City Square
– 2005-10-15British military involved in acts of terrorism in Iraq

According to statement of Iraqi army officer
– 2005-10-15

IRAQ Americans disguised in Arab Dress captured in the act of setting off a car bomb

– 2005-10-15

IRAQ The real insurgency, and the fake one

– by Xymphora – 2005-10-07Green slime’ invades Iraq

The Force Reconnaissance Unit’s collusion with right-wing death squads in northern Ireland
– by Michel Chossudovsky – 2005-09-18British SAS Terror Operation in Basra: Photographic Evidence

– 2005-09-23

Iraqi MP accuses British Forces in Basra of “Terrorism”

Who’s Blowing up Iraq?

New evidence that bombs are being planted by British Commandos
– by Mike Whitney – 2005-09-20Middle East Press Reports on the British “Undercover Soldiers”

US-UK occupation involved in “armed operations against civilians and places of worship”
– 2005-09-20
Michel Chossudovsky is a frequent contributor to Global Research.  Global Research Articles by Michel Chossudovsky

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