How The UK Threatens US Security; Part 1
31 Jan, 2007
- On January 15, Dr. Daniel Pipes participated in a public debate with Ken Livingstone, mayor of London. During this debate, Dr. Pipes quoted former Home Secretary David Blunkett, who wrote in 2003 that "Britain remains a significant base for supporting terrorism."
Dr. Pipes said: "British-based terrorists have carried out operations in at least 15 countries, going from East to West ... Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Algeria, Morocco, Russia, France, Spain and the United States. I give you one example from the United States - this was Richard Reid, the British shoe bomber."
He quoted from American authors who wrote in 2006 that: "The biggest threat to US security emanates not from Iraq, not from Iran, not from Afghanistan, but rather from Great Britain", and concurred: "And I believe this is the tip of the iceberg."
That Britain should be the biggest threat to
the US is, sadly, true. Britain has allowed radical Muslims to
preach in the country for two decades, influencing successive
generations of Muslim youth.
The agencies responsible for this situation are the judiciary, the political executive, the security agencies (MI5 and MI6) and the police. Recently, the signs that these bodies are becoming less prepared to practically deal with extremism suggest a future in which Britain will give more freedom to the radicals on its soil. These dangerous policies could eventually destroy what is left of the "special relationship" between Britain and the United States.
By the time Siri was convicted in absentia, he was in Britain, walking free on the streets of Maida Vale, West London, claiming benefits, and consorting with other radicals, including Omar Bakri Mohammed. While claiming asylum, he set up an Islamist website, the Islamic Observation Center, which published messages from Al Qaeda members, as well as the blind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman. He was arrested and charged in 2001 for complicity in the murder of the leader of Afghanistan's Northern Alliance, Ahmed Shah Massoud. Massoud was killed two days before 9/11 by Belgian-based members of Al Qaeda who carried a bomb disguised as a camera. Siri was released without charge.
Siri has openly boasted that he can never be deported from Britain. He said in August 2005: "I don't think any British judge can accept any agreement between the UK and any Middle Eastern country like Egypt. Any judge here can take this agreement and throw it in the rubbish basket." Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's current prime minister, has said he does not understand how people "whose hands are drenched in blood" could gain political asylum in Britain.
Another individual arrived from Jordan. Abu Qatada (aka Omar Abu Omar, aka Omar Mohammed Othman) had similarly escaped to Britain to escape justice at home. He had arrived in September 1993, and in June 1994, he was granted asylum. Like Bakri, he was given a house in which to live with his family of five children. Qatada has been described as "Al Qaeda's ambassador to Europe". Videotapes of his sermons were found in the Hamburg apartment of Mohammed Atta, the 9/11 terrorist. Both Richard Reid, the failed "shoe-bomber", and Zacarias Moussaoui, a member of the 9/11 plot, had sought religious advice from Qatada.
In 1998, Qatada was convicted in absentia in Jordan for involvement in a series of explosions in that year. Abu Qatada was arrested in February 2001, when he was suspected of involvement in a plot to bomb the Christmas market in Strasbourg in 2000, the eve of the millennium. He had on him an envelope containing $14,000, upon which was written "for the muhajideen in Chechnya". After 2001, he was designated as a terrorist by the US Treasury, and was arrested again in October 2002.
He was kept in detention, being released in March 2005. He was rearrested in August 2005, under the orders of Charles Clarke, who was then home secretary. The deaths of 52 people in London a month earlier had galvanized the usually apathetic authorities to finally do something about the promoters of terrorism who had been allowed to freely disseminate sermons of jihad and hatred. Qatada still remains in prison, awaiting deportation. He is still fighting moves to send him back.
In 1994, Mohammed al-Massari arrived in Britain as an asylum seeker. He had fled from Saudi Arabia, where he had been a member of Saudi Hizbollah. In 1996, Britain suggested it would deport Massari to Dominica, to avoid conflict with the Saudi authorities. This never happened, and Massari still remains in Britain as a free man.
Massari is a known associate of Omar Bakri Mohammed. Bakri founded the British wing of Hizb ut-Tahrir (Massari was a member of this group in Saudi Arabia, where it is banned). In 1996, Bakri also founded the radical group Al-Muhajiroun . Massari frequented meetings of this group. He has a website, called "Tajdeed.net." This website has extolled the virtues of Islamist murderers such as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and has shown videos of beheadings and other Islamist atrocities.
After the bomb attacks in Amman on November 9, 2005, in which 60 people died, Tajdeed praised the attacks. In the same month, while the city of Paris was wracked with incidents of Muslim rioting which were spreading throughout France and into adjacent countries, Massari used the Tajdeed website to urge Muslim youths in Europe to riot.
There are several more similar Islamists who are living in Britain, claiming asylum. One famous British-based Islamist is Abu Hamza al-Masri (Mustafa Kamel Mustafa), who for years was the imam at the notorious Finsbury Park Mosque. Hamza was not an asylum seeker - he had married a British woman in 1980 while he was a student, and gained citizenship. Hamza too was an associate of Bakri.
Hamza's sermons were listened to by Zacarias Moussaoui, Richard Reid, and two members of the cell which carried out the 7/7 attacks on London Transport in 2005. Shehzad Tanweer and Mohammed Sidique Khan had gone to the Finsbury Park Mosque to hear Hamza preach. Hamza, a friend of Omar Bakri Mohammed, ran a group calling itself the "Supporters of Sharia", which had links with Al-Muhajiroun.
Khan, the leader of the 7/7 cell, had been involved with Al-Muhajiroun members. He had stayed in Pakistan with Hassan Butt, who had been a senior figure in the group, who had organized British members of Al-Muhajiroun to fight coalition forces in Afghanistan. Khan also met with the New York Al-Muhajiroun member Junaid Babar in Pakistan, stated Richard Watson in a BBC Newsnight documentary from October 25, 2005.
The same documentary revealed for the first time that Mohammed Sidique Khan had been under surveillance by MI5 (the British homeland intelligence services) in 2004. The intelligence services had decided that Khan was not "important" enough to continue monitoring. Only after he and three others had killed 52 people was it revealed that Khan had had links to Al Qaeda going back five years previously - he had even gone to Malaysia, where he met Hambali, a senior figure in the terror group Jemaah Islamiyah, and also a known member of Al Qaeda. Hambali is now in Guantanamo. Khan had gone to the Philippines, where he attended the Hudaybiyah training camp, run by Jemaah Islamiyah and Al Qaeda. The information came from a reliable source - Nasir Abbas, former head of Jemaah Islamiyah, who is now assisting Indonesian authorities in trapping terrorists.
What is surprising is the incompetence of the UK intelligence authorities, to have failed to notice a suspect's history. Worse still, the authorities were in denial that Khan had anything to do with Al Qaeda until September 2005, when a video from Al Qaeda showed Khan condemning the West and warning of more terrorist attacks was broadcast on Al Jazeerah TV.
In April 2006, a parliamentary committee criticized MI5 for its failings regarding Khan. A month later, it was revealed that MI5 had surveillance tapes which had recorded Khan discussing the manufacture of a bomb, months before the 7/7 atrocity. The attitude of the police and the intelligence services in gathering information on terror seems to be both apathetic and blundering.
Khan, Shehzad Tanweer and another of the 7/7 bombers had grown up in Beeston, a district of south Leeds, Yorkshire. A computer expert, Martin Gilbertson, had been assisting the Iqra Bookshop in Leeds. He had assisted in compiling videos onto DVDs. Gilbertson claimed that he had sent DVDs to Holbeck police station in 2003, where he announced his worries about Khan and Tanweer's radicalism. He said: "I added a list of names, including Khan and Tanweer, plus the names of people from whom they were receiving emails. Some of those names were quite surprising, because they included people regarded as mainstream Muslim community leaders. I heard nothing back from the police. Not a word." The police denied having received such a package.
On the eve of the 7/7 attack, less than 24 hours before Khan and his three accomplices murdered 52 people, MI5 told members of parliament that there was "no imminent terror attack".
On July 21, 2005, exactly two weeks after 7/7, four individuals attempted to set off bombs on London Transport. Their bombs were not successful, causing only minor ignition and creating panic. These individuals were captured on CCTV cameras fleeing from the scene. On Monday, January 15, these four men and two others stood trial at Woolwich Crown Court. Once again, the details of the trial highlight shortfalls in the ability of Britain's authorities to monitor suspects adequately.
Three of the accused had been regular visitors to Abu Hamza's mosque at Finsbury Park. One of these, Mukhtar Said Ibrahim (illustrated), had tapes of Hamza's inflammatory sermons at his home.
28-year old Ibrahim from Stoke Newington, north London, had attended a terror training camp in Sudan, the court was told. He had also gone to Pakistan between December 2004 and March 2005.
The court was told that five of the individuals who are now on trial had been under police surveillance almost 15 months before they had tried to set off explosive devices. The five individuals, including Mukhtar Said Ibrahim, had been in Langdale in the Lake District, Cumbria, northern England, in May 2004 and had been photographed by police.
Even though five of these individuals had been under surveillance, in late April, 2005, they had begun to purchase the ingredients necessary for their "bomb material". The group had planned to use the same explosive as that which had caused death and carnage on 7/7 - triacetone triperoxide, or TATP. One of the main ingredients for this is hydrogen peroxide. The court was told that the ingredients were assembled in a one-bedroom apartment in New Southgate, north London, owned by Yasin Omar, the alleged "chemist".
What is becoming obvious from this trial is that even though five of the suspects had bought more than 440 liters of hydrogen peroxide, no alarm bells were sounded.
Mukhtar Ibrahim, who is said to be the leader of the group, had been stopped three times by police, but had been released without charge on each occasion. When he traveled to Pakistan, he was stopped at Heathrow airport. He had with him £3,000 ($5,875) in cash, a sleeping bag and a first aid kit. His companion had part of a manual, which showed how to deal with gunshot wounds. Ibrahim had claimed to going to a friend's wedding.
On July 21, 2005, while the other individuals had tried to detonate their rucksacks on tube trains, Mukhtar Ibrahim, the court heard had boarded a Number 26 bus, where he had tried to set off his explosives. Despite 440 liters of hydrogen peroxide being bought by the group, the liquid had not been concentrated, and fortunately the devices did not explode as desired.
The lack of real doggedness by the police and intelligence authorities was demonstrated in Richard Watson's 2005 documentary. A source told the BBC that in 2004, a known terror suspect had been arrested. Mohammed Sidique Khan contacted the source, to find out what had happened. On two occasions, Khan had met the source while in the company of three other men, who had not been the other 7/7 bombers. The source contacted the anti-terrorist police. The person who answered the terror hotline was not interested, and said "No disrespect, but these people could have been anybody."
Sir Paul Lever, former chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, when asked about the 7/7 bombings, responded: "I suppose you could characterize it as a failure of intelligence. I would put it more as perhaps a failure of imagination. It really didn't occur to people that young men, born... in Britain, would go down that path."
Britain is now fully aware that young men can "go down that path", but as I will show in Parts Two and Three, the authorities are not doing nearly enough to prevent similar atrocities. There is more than a "failure of imagination" in Britain's war against terrorism.
Illustrations by the author himself, Adrian Morgan.
Adrian Morgan is a
British based writer and artist who has written for
Western Resistance since its inception. He also writes for
Family Security Matters and