BBC World News & Daily Telegraph – 2011-04-26 22:10:38
Wikileaks Revelations: Al-Qaeda Assassin Worked for MI6′, Secret Cables Claim
BBC World News
LONDON (April 26, 2011) — An alleged al-Qaeda militant suspected of bombing a luxury hotel and two churches in Pakistan in 2002 was an informer for MI6, it has been claimed. Adil Hadi al Jazairi Bin Hamlili was detained at Guantanamo Bay between 2003 and last year. The Guardian claims to have seen secret Wikileaks files in which he is described as an al-Qaeda “assassin”. Other Wikileaks files suggest a mosque in north London served as a “haven” for Islamic extremists.
According to the files, 35 men held at Guantanamo Bay had gone to fight against Western forces in Afghanistan after being indoctrinated in Britain. The US documents identify two preachers at the Finsbury Park Mosque — Abu Hamza and Abu Qatada — as key recruiters.
Those revelations are contained in a Daily Telegraph report on separate secret files which suggested London was the hub of a global terror network. The files, written by US military commanders, say that by the late 1990s the mosque was attracting young men from around the world, who were radicalised before being sent to training camps in Afghanistan.
It said the 35 detainees had passed through Finsbury Park Mosque as well as other centres such as Regent’s Park and East London mosques and a rented room above a pub near Baker Street. US intelligence officials said Finsbury Park served as “an attack planning and propaganda production base” for al-Qaeda.
BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner said some of the files show MI6 in a very bad light. He said: “A lot of it doesn’t surprise me… In my view they completely underestimated how dangerous recruiters and proselytisers like Abu Qatada and Abu Hamza were.”
The Guardian says Mr Hamlili was described in his Guantanamo assessment file as a “facilitator, courier, kidnapper and assassin for al-Qaeda”. US interrogators believed he was also a British intelligence informer.
Sent Back to Algeria
But, despite the accusations, he was never brought to trial and although he was sent back to his native Algeria last year it is not clear whether he is still in custody.
Wikileaks released the files of 759 Guantanamo detainees at the weekend. The files are also claimed to reveal:
â€¢ That the US government suspected the BBC of being a “possible propaganda media network” for al-Qaeda, because a phone number for a corporation office was found in the possession of several suspected terrorists, according to the Telegraph. Director of BBC Global News, Peter Horrocks, has written to the newspaper, pointing out that he “strongly disagrees” with their interpretation of the files.
â€¢ That al-Qaeda had hidden a nuclear weapon in Europe for detonation should Osama Bin laden be captured
â€¢ That there were attempts by al-Qaeda to recruit workers at London’s Heathrow Airport.
Mr Hamlili was captured in Pakistan in June 2003 and taken to Bagram detention centre in Afghanistan where he was interviewed by the CIA. The CIA agents were apparently told he had been an informer for MI6 and the Canadian secret service since 2000. But the CIA claimed he had “withheld important information from the Canadian Secret Intelligence Service and the British Secret Intelligence Service… and to be a threat to US and allied personnel in Afghanistan and Pakistan”.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who has apparently admitted being the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, allegedly told his interrogators Mr Hamlili was behind a March 2002 grenade attack on a church in Islamabad, which killed five people.
Mr Mohammed also alleged Mr Hamlili was responsible for an attack on a church in Pakistan in December 2002 which killed three children. Separate US intelligence reports said Mr Hamlili was “possibly involved” in a bombing outside Karachi’s Sheraton hotel in May 2002 which killed 11 French engineers and two Pakistani citizens.
WikiLeaks: GuantÃ¡namo Bay Terrorists
Radicalized in London to Attack Western Targets
Robert Winnett, Christopher Hope, Steven Swinford and Holly Watt / The Telegraph
LONDON (April 25, 2011) — Abu Qatada and Abu Hamza, two preachers who lived off state benefits after claiming asylum, are identified by the American authorities as the key recruiters responsible for sending dozens of extremists from throughout the world to Pakistan and Afghanistan via London mosques.
The leaked WikiLeaks documents, written by senior US military commanders at GuantÃ¡namo Bay, illustrate how, for two decades, Britain effectively became a crucible of terrorism, with dozens of extremists, home-grown and from abroad, radicalised here.
Finsbury Park mosque, in north London, is described as a â€œhavenâ€ for extremists. United States intelligence officials concluded the mosque served as â€œan attack planning and propaganda production baseâ€.
The files will raise questions over why the Government and security services failed to take action sooner to tackle the capitalâ€™s reputation as a staging post for terrorism, which became so established that the city was termed â€œLondonistanâ€.
The documents show that at least 35 detainees at GuantÃ¡namo had passed through Britain before being sent to fight against Allied forces in Afghanistan. This is thought to be more than from any other Western nation. Of those, 18 were originally from abroad. The other 17 were British nationals or citizens granted residency here after claiming asylum, who were indoctrinated before being sent to terrorist training camps in Afghanistan.
The Government has paid millions of pounds in compensation and benefits to people regarded as highly dangerous by the US authorities.
Qatada, who was paid compensation under human rights laws for being â€œunfairly detainedâ€, is described as â€œthe most successful recruiter in Europeâ€ and a â€œfocal point for extremist fundraising [and] recruitmentâ€. Hamza is accused of encouraging â€œhis followers to murder non-Muslimsâ€.
Four mosques in London and an Islamic centre are highlighted as places where young Muslim men were radicalised and turned into potential terrorists. Finsbury Park mosque â€œserved to facilitate and training of recruits,â€ note the files, adding that it was â€œa haven for Islamic extremists from Morocco and Algeria.â€
The Daily Telegraph, along with other international newspapers, is publishing details of more than 700 files on the GuantÃ¡namo Bay detainees obtained by the WikiLeaks website.
Earlier, this newspaper disclosed that dozens of terrorists held at the prison had admitted plotting a wide array of attacks against targets in Britain and America. However, it also emerged that more than 150 innocent people had been sent to GuantÃ¡namo. Now, the key role that Britain and British-based preachers played in the lives of many of the GuantÃ¡namo detainees can be disclosed.
British intelligence services also provided information, including lists of suspected extremists seized from raids on Islamic centres, to the US military as it interrogated detainees. The information was passed on despite the Government publicly condemning the use of torture at GuantÃ¡namo. The leaked documents also reveal that:
â€¢ Sixteen detainees sent back to Britain are regarded as â€œhigh riskâ€ by the US authorities and are liable to plan attacks against the West. However, they have been paid a reported Â£1â€‰million each in compensation by the Government. For the first time, details of their alleged extremist activities, including travelling to Afghanistan to fight against British troops, are disclosed;
â€¢ The US government suspected the BBC of being a â€œpossible propaganda media networkâ€ for al-Qaeda after details of a phone number at the broadcaster was found in the possession of several suspected terrorists. The number, which now appears to be disconnected, was thought to be for an employee of the BBC World Service, which was then funded by the Foreign Office;
â€¢ Terrorist recruits from across Africa and the Middle East flocked to London to claim asylum, often after travelling through other European countries;
â€¢ British taxpayersâ€™ money was used to bankroll an Afghan politician who was sent to GuantÃ¡namo Bay after being exposed as an al-Qaeda aide. Mullan Haji Rohullah received more than Â£300,000 to destroy his opium crop â€“ but he sold the drugs and kept the money from the Department for International Development.
â€¢ Four of the GuantÃ¡namo detainees were â€œBritish intelligence sourcesâ€ who betrayed their paymasters.
â€¢ The last remaining British national at the prison is an al-Qaeda commander who directed terrorist forces in Tora Bora during the Afghanistan conflict. His family, who were previously allegedly paid directly by Osama Bin Laden, is thought to have received compensation from the Government.
The files help to explain American anger towards the British authorities, who have been regularly accused of failing to tackle radicalisation in this country.
The top-secret documents show how Muslim men travelled to European countries such as France, from where they obtained fake EU passports. They then crossed the channel to take advantage of Britainâ€™s generous asylum system. Extremist preachers radicalised the men at London mosques, showing them videos of atrocities committed against Muslims in Bosnia and Chechnya.
According to one document, Finsbury Park mosque was â€œa key transit facility for the movement of North African and other extremists in London to and from al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistanâ€.
They were flown to Pakistan and Afghanistan at the terrorist groupâ€™s expense, put up in special guesthouses and sent to the training camps. They were introduced to senior al-Qaeda figures including Bin Laden and taught to fight and make bombs. Wives were arranged for some terrorists and their families received generous payments.
The US government condemned the release of the Wikileaks documents. In a statement, the Pentagon said: â€œIt is unfortunate that news organisations have made the decision to publish numerous documents obtained illegally by WikiLeaks concerning the GuantÃ¡namo detention facility. These documents contain classified information about current and former detainees, and we strongly condemn the leaking of this sensitive information.
â€œThe WikiLeaks releases include Detainee Assessment Briefs (DABs) written by the Department of Defence between 2002 and early 2009. These DABs were written based on a range of information available then. Any given DAB illegally obtained and released by WikiLeaks may or may not represent the current view of a given detainee. â€œThe previous and current administrations have made every effort to act with the utmost care and diligence in transferring detainees from Guantanamo.â€
Barack Obama, the US President, previously made a high-profile pledge to close the Guantanamo Bay facility and prosecute in the criminal courts those alleged to have broken the law. However, the pledge has now been largely abandoned and the US authorities recently announced that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the most senior terrorist at the prison and the alleged mastermind behind the September 11 attacks, will be tried at a controversial military tribunal.
Mohammed, who was tortured more than 100 times, has admitted his involvement in dozens of plots, including plans to hijack aircraft and crash them into Heathrow airport, Big Ben and Canary Wharf, and assassination attempts against Pope John Paul II and former President Bill Clinton. He is among 15 so-called kingpins at the prison who are unlikely to ever be freed.
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