Good news: UK commandos preparing for British Beslan

The word’s come down from AQ management to its blue collars in Britain: start cutting off heads.

Islamic terror cells in Britain have been instructed to carry out a series of kidnappings and beheadings of the kind allegedly planned by the nine terrorist suspects arrested in Birmingham last week.

The “strategic” assassination instruction was issued by Al-Qaeda’s leaders in Pakistan and Iraq to dozens of their followers in this country. It was uncovered by MI5 last autumn, senior security sources say…

The revelation explains the recent deployment of a permanent SAS unit to London. The unit has been placed on 24-hour standby to respond to a terrorist attack in the capital.

SAS is Britain’s special forces. And it’s not just beheadings for which they’re on standby:

The intelligence services fear that Britain could be subject to a Beslan-style siege, with multiple hostages forced to plead for their lives on camera.

Whitehall sources have said that the threat is considered so credible that MI5, the police and the SAS have conducted at least two mock counter-terrorism exercises to work out how to deal with such an eventuality.

The last exercise, shortly before Christmas, took place at an RAF base near Chester. Five police forces were involved in an operation that envisaged an international conference being stormed by terrorists, who then held a group of children hostage in a creche wired with explosives.

The Times of London has new details about the alleged cell that was pinched earlier this week; apparently the cops moved in after one of the suspects was spotted buying a video camera. More than one of them has been linked to a mosque in Birmingham which, by the admission of one of its own officials, is a center for Tablighi Jamaat — a group linked to two of the London bombers and regarded by western intel as a “conveyor belt to Al Qaeda.” Can you guess which group is spearheading the drive to build that mega-mosque in the east end that would seat up to 70,000 Muslims? Oh hells yeah.

All in all, says the Telegraph, MI5 has disrupted 12 separate terrorist plots in the past year and a half — twice as many as was previously thought before, for an average of one every six weeks. Total arrests made in the heretofore undisclosed plots: zero.

The Telegraph’s also got tasty heart-ache fodder tonight in a story about the Joint Support Group, a team of British military superspies that cut its teeth turning IRA agents into British informants in ulster and is now busy reprogramming jihadis in Baghdad. I’m a wee bit suspicious that we’re only first hearing about them now, as Blair considers withdrawing part of the country’s forces from Basra, but it’s a good read even if it’s not technically, you know, true.

Working alongside the Special Air Service and the American Delta Force as part of the Baghdad-based counter-terrorist unit known as Task Force Black, they have supplied intelligence that has saved hundreds of lives and resulted in some of the most notable successes against the myriad terror groups fighting in Iraq. Only last week, intelligence from the JSG is understood to have led to a series of successful operations against Sunni militia groups in southern Baghdad…

The killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq up until his death in June last year, followed intelligence obtained by the JSG, as did the rescue of the kidnapped peace campaigner, Norman Kember…

Candidates who get through pre-selection then spend the next four months at the Intelligence Corps headquarters at Chicksands, Bedfordshire, being taught driving and close-quarter battle skills – operators must be capable of using a wide variety of weapons but must be expert shots with a pistol…

With so many Iraqis entering the zone every day, those who want to pass on information can do so with a certain amount of anonymity. But a risk still remains. All potential agents are warned that anyone suspected of being a coalition spy will be tortured before being murdered. If he is married, his wife will be gang-raped in front of their children, who will in all probability also be murdered, they are told.

Sixty years ago, there’d already have been a movie made about them with Laurence Olivier in the starring role.

Exit question: What’ll destroy the UK first — terrorism, bird flu, Iranian nukes, or those dreadful melting glaciers?