Brits Recruited Terrorists
The Guardian - UK
An astonishing claim that M16 recruited Muslim extremists in Britain for terror training abroad has been made by Oldham MP and former cabinet minister Michael Meacher.
Mr Meacher also suggest that a British Muslim held under sentenced of death in Pakistan for beheading a US journalist is being kept alive because he was a British double agent.
The Oldham West and Royton MP makes these sensational claims in an article for Asian News' sister paper, The Guardian.
The former Environment Secretary claims that Britain's 'overseas' security organisation, M16, set about recruiting UK Muslims directing them to support US efforts to overthrow communist governments in Afghanistan and Yugoslavia. He highlights a Delhi-based research foundation that estimates anything up to 200 UK Muslims could have undergone training in overseas terrorist camps under the protection of the Pakistani secret service, the ISI, who were backing the armed Islamic insurrection against the Afghan communist regime and its Soviet backers.
He writes: "During an interview on Fox TV this summer, the former US federal prosecutor John Loftus reported that the British intelligence had used the al-Muhajiroun group..to recruit Islamist militants with British passports for the war against the Serbs in Kosovo."
The now disbanded al-Muhajiroun group held meetings in Manchester after 9/11 praising the courage of the suicide bombers and claimed to be helping UK Muslims to fight US troops in Afghanistan.
Mr Meacher also highlights the case of UK-born Muslim Omar Saeed Sheikh, sentenced to death for the murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002.
Mr Meacher writes that Sheikh has been allowed 32 appeals against his sentence, the last being adjourned "indefinitely". He says the same Delhi foundation describes Sheikh as a British agent.
Mr Meacher adds: "This is all the more remarkable when this is the same Omar Sheikh who, at the behest of General Mahmood Ahmed, head of the ISI, wired $100,000 to Mohammed Atta, the leading 9/11 hijacker, before the New York attacks, as confirmed by Dennis Lomel, director of FBI's financial crimes unit."
Mr Meacher's argument is that the UK and US security service do not want a proper investigation into these links because it would expose how they encouraged and helped to recruit Islamic 'warriors' when it suited their purposes but that these same forces eventually turned on the west, inflamed by what they saw as anti-Islamic occupations and pro-Israeli international policies.
Read the full Guardian article below -
Oldham MP Michael Meacher argues Britain's security services helped to create Islamic warriors who eventually bit back against the west
The videotape of the suicide bomber Mohammad Sidique Khan has switched the focus of the London bombings away from the establishment view of brainwashed, murderous individuals and highlighted a starker political reality. While there can be no justification for horrific killings of this kind, they need to be understood against the ferment of the last decade radicalising Muslim youth of Pakistani origin living in Europe.
During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, the US funded large numbers of jihadists through Pakistan's secret intelligence service, the ISI. Later the US wanted to raise another jihadi corps, again using proxies, to help Bosnian Muslims fight to weaken the Serb government's hold on Yugoslavia. Those they turned to included Pakistanis in Britain.
According to a recent report by the Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation, a contingent was also sent by the Pakistani government, then led by Benazir Bhutto, at the request of the Clinton administration. This contingent was formed from the Harkat-ul- Ansar (HUA) terrorist group and trained by the ISI. The report estimates that about 200 Pakistani Muslims living in the UK went to Pakistan, trained in HUA camps and joined the HUA's contingent in Bosnia. Most significantly, this was "with the full knowledge and complicity of the British and American intelligence agencies".
As the 2002 Dutch government report on Bosnia makes clear, the US provided a green light to groups on the state department list of terrorist organisations, including the Lebanese-based Hizbullah, to operate in Bosnia - an episode that calls into question the credibility of the subsequent "war on terror".
For nearly a decade the US helped Islamist insurgents linked to Chechnya, Iran and Saudi Arabia destabilise the former Yugoslavia. The insurgents were also allowed to move further east to Kosovo. By the end of the fighting in Bosnia there were tens of thousands of Islamist insurgents in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo; many then moved west to Austria, Germany and Switzerland.
Less well known is evidence of the British government's relationship with a wider Islamist terrorist network. During an interview on Fox TV this summer, the former US federal prosecutor John Loftus reported that British intelligence had used the al-Muhajiroun group in London to recruit Islamist militants with British passports for the war against the Serbs in Kosovo.
Since July Scotland Yard has been interested in an alleged member of al-Muhajiroun, Haroon Rashid Aswat, who some sources have suggested could have been behind the London bombings.
According to Loftus, Aswat was detained in Pakistan after leaving Britain, but was released after 24 hours. He was subsequently returned to Britain from Zambia, but has been detained solely for extradition to the US, not for questioning about the London bombings. Loftus claimed that Aswat is a British-backed double agent, pursued by the police but protected by MI6.
One British Muslim of Pakistani origin radicalised by the civil war in Yugoslavia was LSE-educated Omar Saeed Sheikh. He is now in jail in Pakistan under sentence of death for the killing of the US journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002 - although many (including Pearl's widow and the US authorities) doubt that he committed the murder. However, reports from Pakistan suggest that Sheikh continues to be active from jail, keeping in touch with friends and followers in Britain.
Sheikh was recruited as a student by Jaish-e-Muhammad (Army of Muhammad), which operates a network in Britain. It has actively recruited Britons from universities and colleges since the early 1990s, and has boasted of its numerous British Muslim volunteers. Investigations in Pakistan have suggested that on his visits there Shehzad Tanweer, one of the London suicide bombers, contacted members of two outlawed local groups and trained at two camps in Karachi and near Lahore.
Indeed the network of groups now being uncovered in Pakistan may point to senior al-Qaida operatives having played a part in selecting members of the bombers' cell. The Observer Research Foundation has argued that there are even "grounds to suspect that the [London] blasts were orchestrated by Omar Sheikh from his jail in Pakistan".
Why then is Omar Sheikh not being dealt with when he is already under sentence of death? Astonishingly his appeal to a higher court against the sentence was adjourned in July for the 32nd time and has since been adjourned indefinitely. This is all the more remarkable when this is the same Omar Sheikh who, at the behest of General Mahmood Ahmed, head of the ISI, wired $100,000 to Mohammed Atta, the leading 9/11 hijacker, before the New York attacks, as confirmed by Dennis Lormel, director of FBI's financial crimes unit.
Yet neither Ahmed nor Omar appears to have been sought for questioning by the US about 9/11. Indeed, the official 9/11 Commission Report of July 2004 sought to downplay the role of Pakistan with the comment: "To date, the US government has not been able to determine the origin of the money used for the 9/11 attacks. Ultimately the question is of little practical significance" - a statement of breathtaking disingenuousness.
All this highlights the resistance to getting at the truth about the 9/11 attacks and to an effective crackdown on the forces fomenting terrorist bombings in the west, including Britain. The extraordinary US forbearance towards Omar Sheikh, its restraint towards the father of Pakistan's atomic bomb, Dr AQ Khan, selling nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea, the huge US military assistance to Pakistan and the US decision last year to designate Pakistan as a major non-Nato ally in south Asia all betoken a deeper strategic set of goals as the real priority in its relationship with Pakistan. These might be surmised as Pakistan providing sizeable military contingents for Iraq to replace US troops, or Pakistani troops replacing Nato forces in Afghanistan. Or it could involve the use of Pakistani military bases for US intervention in Iran, or strengthening Pakistan as a base in relation to India and China.
Whether the hunt for those behind the London bombers can prevail against these powerful political forces remains to be seen. Indeed it may depend on whether Scotland Yard, in its attempts to uncover the truth, can prevail over MI6, which is trying to cover its tracks and in practice has every opportunity to operate beyond the law under the cover of national security.
First published by the Asian News
© Copyright 2005 Guardian Media Group
Police 'Had Role' In Bali blasts
- Indonesian police or military officers may have played a role in the 2002 Bali bombing, the country's former president, Abdurrahman Wahid has said.
- In an interview with SBS's Dateline program to be aired tonight, on the third anniversary of the bombing that killed 202 people, Mr Wahid says he has grave concerns about links between Indonesian authorities and terrorist groups.
- While he believed terrorists were involved in planting one of the Kuta night club bombs, the second, which destroyed Bali's Sari Club, had been organised by authorities.
- Asked who he thought planted the second bomb, Mr Wahid said: "Maybe the police ... or the armed forces."
- "The orders to do this or that came from within our armed forces, not from the fundamentalist people," he says.
- The program also claims a key figure behind the formation of terror group Jemaah Islamiah was an Indonesian spy.
- Former terrorist Umar Abduh, who is now a researcher and writer, told Dateline Indonesian authorities had a hand in many terror groups.
- "There is not a single Islamic group either in the movement or the political groups that is not controlled by (Indonesian) intelligence," he said.
- Abduh has written a book on Teungku Fauzi Hasbi, a key figure in Jemaah Islamiah (JI) who had close contact with JI operations chief Hambali and lived next door to Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir.
- He says Hasbi was a secret agent for Indonesia's military intelligence while at the same time a key player in creating JI.
- Documents cited by SBS showed the Indonesian chief of military intelligence in 1990 authorised Hasbi to undertake a "special job".
- A 1995 internal memo from the military intelligence headquarters in Jakarta included a request to use "Brother Fauzi Hasbi" to spy on Acehnese separatists in Indonesia, Malaysia and Sweden.
- And a 2002 document assigned Hasbi the job of special agent for BIN, the Indonesian national intelligence agency.
- Security analyst John Mempi told SBS that Hasbi, who was also known as Abu Jihad, had played a key role in JI in its early years.
- "The first Jemaah Islamiah congress in Bogor was facilitated by Abu Jihad, after Abu Bakar Bashir returned from Malaysia," Mr Mempi said.
- "We can see that Abu Jihad played an important role. He was later found to be an intelligence agent. So an intelligence agent has been facilitating the radical Islamic movement."
- Hasbi was disembowelled in a mysterious murder in 2003 after he was exposed as a military agent and his son Lamkaruna Putra died in a plane crash last month.
- Another convicted terrorist, Timsar Zubil, who set off three bombs in Sumatra in 1978, told the program intelligence agents had given his group a provocative name Komando Jihad and encouraged members to commit illegal acts.
- "We may have deliberately been allowed to grow," he said.
- Abduh also told the program his terrorist organisation, the Imron Movement, was incited to a range of violent action in the 1980s when the Indonesian military told the group that the assassination of several Muslim clerics was imminent.
- Another terrorism expert, George Aditjondro, said a bombing in May this year that killed 23 people in the Christian village of Tentena, in central Sulawesi, had been organised by senior military and police officers.
- "This is a strategy of depopulating an area and when an area has been depopulated both becoming refugees or becoming paramilitary fighters then that is the time when they can invest their money in major resource exploitation there," he said.