by RAY FLEMING
PSST! Want to read a banned book? Or extracts from it, anyway? I'm looking at pages 28 and 29 of The Times of June 22 which feature extracts from The Terrorist Hunters by Andy Hayman, with Margaret Gilmore. This book was due to be published last Thursday and thousands of copies were already in the hands of booksellers in Britain. However at 11.45pm on Wednesday the Attorney General, Lady Scotland, obtained an injunction from a high court judge blocking release of the book to the public. Andy Hayman was assistant commissioner at Scotland Yard before his retirement and his book deals in some detail with the UK's fight against Islamic extremism and provides an insider's view of such events as the July 7 London attacks that killed 52, the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes and the murder of the Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko. It is hardly surprising therefore that the authorities were concerned about its content but it is extraordinary that they have had the book in their possession for two months -- yet made no move against it until 15 minutes before its publication deadline. One of the chapters that may have given concern -- it was included in the extract published in The Times - is a fairly detailed and critical account of how Cobra (the Civil Contingencies Committee) functions when it is brought into being to deal with a major incident that affects many different government departments.

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